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Iran Increases Efforts to Block Websites Supporting Women’s Rights

According to a story by AFP, the Iranian government has redoubled efforts to block websites that support women’s rights. In our paper on the Iranian blogosphere, we drew on research from the OpenNet Initiative (ONI) that found blogs are far less blocked than we would have expected. ONI researchers did indeed find that blogs by women’s groups were blocked, suggesting that this type of content is becoming increasingly sensitive. Women’s Rights activists such as Parvin Ardalan have also been jailed and harassed by the regime recently. According to Reporter’s Without Borders, Iran does indeed have one of the most restrictive media environments in the world. ONI’s recent book on global filtering also shows that Iran has one of the more technically sophisticated filtering regimes in the world. However, others have argued that under “Repression 2.0” governments like China and Iran have an interest in making others believe that filtering, censorship and surveillance are far more pervasive than they actually are, in hopes of increasing self-censorship. We look forward to more research from ONI on what filtering is taking place in Iran and how it is conducted, especially as it pertains to women’s rights groups.

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