Filterwatch Iran

May 2015

From our latest Iranian Internet Infrastructure and Policy (IIIP) report, here’s a countdown of some of the more interesting internet-related statements made by Iranian public figures.

Looking for love

Mahmoud Golzari, Deputy Head of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports announced the launch of an official website for online dating, Hamsan Gozini. He also explained that this website will assist young people with various questions about marriage and relationships. It’s unclear why the government wants to be in the business of managing dating sites. Could it have something to do with the increasing popularity of Tinder in Tehran?

Damn kids and their hashtags

Ayatollah Seyed Hassan Amoli, Friday Prayer Leader for the Northwestern city of Ardabil, said that it’s important to make sure that young people spend their time studying the Qur’an instead of using social media. Good luck with that, Ayatollah.

SHOMA the Money

The ICT ministry announced the budget for SHOMA, Iran’s national internet. According to Mehr news agency, the ministry will spend more than 8,550 billion IRR (295 million USD) on the project. It looks like investment in the ICT sector continues to be a priority for the Rouhani government.

It’s Personal

“I’m on social media as an ordinary person, not as a minister,” Culture Minister Ali Jannati told Tasnim News Agency. Facebook and several other social media sites are blocked by the Iranian government, making their usage by members of Rouhani’s cabinet a controversial issue.

The Response on Twitter

We’ve heard from ICT policymakers. But what do ordinary Iranians have to say about internet filtering? To find out, we collected and analysed tweets containing the #filternet hashtag posted during the month of May. Our findings are illustrated in the infographic below.

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