Alliance For democracy In Iran

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Shahanshah Aryameher


Iranian Freedom Fighters UNITE

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Almost 20 websites blocked as online censorship grows

Reporters Without Borders today criticised the Iranian government for falsely trying to improve the country’s image by shutting down at least 14 feminist websites, summoning their editors before courts and ordering Internet service providers (ISPs) to censor content.“The government is preparing for next year’s presidential election by removing online material it does not like,” the worldwide press freedom organisation said. “News about protests by workers, women and students is steadily disappearing from these sites in an effort to kill the impression of a country in crisis.” The feminist websites, all blocked this month (see list below), backed the campaign to gather a million signatures opposing discriminatory laws against women, launched by a group of “cyber-feminists” in 2005. Other sites run by independent journalists have also been blocked and some ISPs have anonymously admitted to Reporters Without Borders they received daily lists of websites to be censored. “Such lists are not new but the frequency of such action is significantly increasing control of the Internet,” the organisations said.

Maryam Hosseinkhah et Jelveh Javaheri à leur sortie de prison (JPEG) Cyber-feminists Maryam Hosseinkhah and Jelveh Javaheri were summoned on 18 May to appear before a revolutionary court in Teheran for their online activities, including their work with the Tagir Bary Barbary (Change for Equality) site. Hosseinkhah was interrogated and Javaheri is due to appear on 2 August. Communication and information technology minister Mohammad Soleimani meanwhile said on 17 May that a 56K Internet connection was “quite sufficient” for the country’s Internet users. Iran is 166th in the 169-country Reporters Without Borders press freedom index and is also on the organisation’s Enemies of the Internet list.

The websites blocked this month are:

Iran: Cleric 'calls all feminists whores and foreign spies'Tehran, 27 May (AKI) -

A top Iranian cleric from the northeast, Ayatollah Ahmad Elmalhoda, has reportedly called feminists "whores and foreign spies". "These whores, clutching a piece of paper in their hands to gather signatures, are working for foreign powers and want to destabilise the Islamic Republic," said Elmalhoda.He is the highly influential prayer leader in the northeastern holy Shia city of Mashad.Elmalhoda has called on the government to "intervene decisively against these whores, because it is improper to leave them to act with impunity."A few weeks ago, Elmalhoda said women who do not wear the Islamic veil as instructed "turned men into animals."Verbal attacks against feminists in Iran are also being accompanied by a vast judicial offensive. Eight feminists involved in a campaign to gather "a million signatures in favour of equality" were recently given jail terms of various lengths and sentenced to public floggings.

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