Tuesday 8 December 2009

Iran targets new media and ups censorship

The Iranian authorities stepped up their control of news and information ahead of yesterday's National Students Day demonstrations and are clamping down on new media, Reporters Without Borders claims.
It says internet access has been slowed right down or blocked in Tehran and other major cities. SMS messaging and mobile phone connections have been suspended or jammed.
At the same time, the accreditation of foreign journalists was suspended for 72 hours and there has been an increase in cases of journalists being threatened or arrested in the past week.
"Everything indicates that the authorities carefully prepared and coordinated a strategy to suppress all planned demonstration and make people think the situation has been normalised," RWB says.
The press freedom group says it is the first time that censorship measures affecting all forms of media were adopted so early, several days ahead of yesterday’s demonstrations, with the aim of preventing the opposition’s attempts to rally its supporters by such means as social networks and mobile phones.
Around 50 journalists and bloggers have fled Iran to escape a relentless crackdown since the disputed 12 June presidential election. Reporters Without Borders has launched an appeal for financial support for these journalists and bloggers, who find themselves utterly destitute as they search for a safe refuge. To make a donation: http://www.rsf.org/spip.php