Opposition unplugged? And more Iran media updates.

Posted: 15 Feb 2010   Print   Send a link
"Despite weeks of calls to action, the opposition movement failed to derail the holiday's agenda set by supporters of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The Iranian government had spent weeks co-opting the opposition plans. Dozens of activists and journalists were arrested, along with individuals suspected of using social networking websites to encourage protests against the regime. Following in the footsteps of China, Google and other internet service providers had been blocked in Iran. SMS messages were interrupted, and internet communication was brought to a halt. Three major international broadcasters operating in the region, the BBC, Deutsche Welle and Voice of America, have recently accused the Iranian regime of 'deliberate electronic interference' in their broadcasts. It seems that the balance in the Iranian uprising is shifting in the regime's favor. This time Ahmadinejad was prepared ... he succeeded in 'unplugging' the opposition." Jamal Dajani, Huffington Post, 12 February 2010.
     "Revolution Day will not be tweeted. Not entirely, at least. Internet, mobile phone, e-mail, and SMS services in Iran have reportedly been disrupted, apparently in an attempt by authorities to prevent opposition activists from communicating and organizing protests." RFE/RL, 11 February 2010.
     "Q. How could Iran block access to specific websites? A. All Internet traffic in Iran, and many other countries including China, is inspected by government-controlled computers programmed that filter content. Officials can easily program those filters so that computers in those countries cannot access certain Web pages, such as Google.com, or use specific programs, such as eBay Inc's Skype, Twitter, or Activision Blizzard Inc's World of Warcraft online video game. Countries also often choose to block entire websites because that is easier than trying to pinpoint objectionable content. ... Q. Is it possible to get around those filters? A. Yes. There are several ways around the filters, some of which require the user to have some technical knowledge. One of the easiest to use is a program for personal computers called Tor (www.torproject.org). This program encrypts Internet traffic, effectively hiding it from filtering programs. Not all of these programs work all the time, and they cannot circumvent all filtering techniques." Ian Sherr and Jim Finkle, Reuters, 11 February 2010.
     "AFP has reported that opposition sympathizers began 'impromptu' radio broadcasts via the Internet this morning, but we've been unable to track it down: 'Hitting back at official efforts to stifle news of opposition protests, the opposition on Thursday launched an impromptu radio station on the Internet. The scratchy, live broadcast flashed news reports on the clashes.'" RFE/RL, 11 February 2010.
     "On Monday, Iranian state media reported the arrest of seven individuals charged with espionage for alleged ties to the U.S.-funded Farsi-language radio station, Radio Farda. These allegations and arrests coincide with a large-scale crackdown on independent media that has intensified in the past week. In the lead-up to today‚Äôs demonstrations, Radio Farda broadcasts have been jammed, and there have been widespread service disruptions to the Internet and text message services. These and other government efforts have impeded the free flow of information, news, and basic means of communication. This is why I will join Senator Casey and others in introducing another resolution denouncing the atmosphere of impunity in Iran for those who employ intimidation, harassment, or violence to restrict basic freedoms of speech, expression, assembly, and the press." Senator Ted Kaufman (D-DE) (and former BBG member) Senate floor speech via Sussex Countian, 12 February 2010.
     "[M]ore should be done to help the opposition. For example, the Internet and satellite television blockages might be overcome with more U.S. support for private groups working to counter the regime's jamming and firewalls." Editorial, Washington Post, 13 February 2010.