Iran Blocks Sites, Texts, Calls

Reporters Without Borders

The authorities have increased censorship in a bid to prevent yesterday’s anti-government protests, blocking independent or pro-opposition websites and other electronic media. Broadband speed has greatly slowed in major cities as in the run-up to previous anti-regime demonstrations or opposition events.

Mobile phone and text-message traffic has been badly disrupted and the Persian calendar month “bahman” has been added to blocked keywords in an effort to reduce calls for today’s protests (14 February is 25 Bahman).

The stepped-up censorship and cyber-attacks began on 10 February in an effort to prevent organisation and reporting of the demonstrations. Two news sites, www.fararu.com and sahamnews.org (the latter close to opposition leader Mehdi Karoubi), were blocked.

Satellite TV broadcasts to Iran have been jammed and the BBC officially protested on 10 February. The jamming first targeted news about the revolution in Egypt and then was extended on 12 February to all BBC and Voice of America broadcasts, which were either cut off or became hard to pick up.