Iranian president against blocking social networks
Baku, Azerbaijan, Jan. 17
By Umid Niayesh - Trend:
Iranian president Hassan Rouhani is against blocking social networks, Ali Jannati, the Islamic Republic's culture minister said, Fars news agency reported Jan. 17.
The Iranian president believes that the social networks which are being used in Iran and have mass audiences should not be banned, Jannati said.
While commenting on the Tehran prosecutor order on blocking mobile social networks applications he said that no decision was made for ban of access to WhatsApp, Line, and Tango in the Committee for Determining Criminal Web Content.
The judiciary has entered into the issue by itself, Jannati said, adding the ban order would not be implemented.
He refused to unveil further details on the issue.
"We can use smart filtering system to filter harmful parts of the networks rather than blocking the whole application," Jannati said.
Earlier the prosecutor of Tehran Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi said that the order on blocking mobile social networks applications including WhatsApp, Line, and Tango is not lifted and the relevant organizations should respect that.
The official also rejected reports that Rouhani and head of the Judiciary, Sadeq Amoli Larijani have agreed to suspend the issue for a while.
Earlier Iranian Minister of Justice Mostafa Pourmohammadi said that the issue of banning access to WhatsApp, Line, and Tango was already discussed in the Committee for Determining Criminal Web Content but there are no plans to block the social networks currently.
The judiciary has been trying to get Iran's government to block access to these services since September 2014.
Earlier in October 2014 in response to a final order by the judiciary to close down mobile messaging services, the country's Communications and Information Technology Minister Mahmoud Vaezi said that it would have no effect.
"Our technical studies indicate that the number of social networks such as WhatsApp, Viber and Tango is so numerous that shutting them down is not the solution."
About 4.5 to 5 million of Iranian citizens use WhatsApp and Viber.
It should be noted that several of world's most popular networks, such as Twitter and Facebook are banned in Iran, while users are still able to access them via proxies. A proxy allows bypassing 'gates' meant to block certain sites.
A survey by Iranian Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports indicates that 69.3 percent of the country's young generation use proxy servers to by-pass the filters and access banned Internet websites.
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