December 18, 2006

MAHMOUD GETS IT FROM ABOVE AND BELOW:

Iran bloggers test regime's tolerance: Push boundaries of political dissent (James F. Smith and Anne Barnard, December 18, 2006, Boston Globe)

Especially threatening, it appears, are sites that create online communities that might allow Iranians to assemble virtually. The government banned the hugely popular Orkut site, an online Iranian social club. The latest casualty this month: YouTube.com, the American site for sharing videos online. Click on it in Iran and the screen reports, "Access denied."

The Paris-based rights group Reporters Without Borders includes Iran on its list of 13 countries designated "enemies of the Internet." That organization's website is also blocked in Iran.

The organization said repression of bloggers has eased somewhat in 2006. But in a report in November, the group said Internet filtering has accelerated, with two political sites, tik.ir and meydaan.com, closed down in recent weeks. Both had criticized the government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Bloggers agree that they have found some latitude in recent months. Many have developed a feel for the boundaries, and some are trying to stretch them rather than break them.

Farzana Sayid Saidi, a 29-year-old reporter and colleague of Samiei, has two blogs, one political and the other showcasing her poetry. She has been blogging in her spare time for two years. Her first blog was shut down within three days, she said, after she wrote that school officials were providing access to abortions in clinics for young students.

Now she's back at it.


Harder to repress folks as your own power slips away.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 18, 2006 8:06 AM
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