Iran Replaces Banned YouTube With its Own Site

By Jack Phillips
Epoch Times Staff
Created: December 9, 2012 Last Updated: December 10, 2012
Related articles: World » Middle East
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A screenshot shows the front page of Iran's video-sharing website. (Screenshot by The Epoch Times)

A screenshot shows the front page of Iran's video-sharing website. (Screenshot by The Epoch Times)

Dissatisfied with the blocked site YouTube, Iran announced its own video-sharing website on Sunday in an attempt to promote government-sanctioned content and amid steps to create its own internal, “National Internet.”

The “Mehr” sharing site, according to its About Us section, seeks to promote Iranian culture and attract Persian-speaking netizens, reported AFP. Translated into English, the word “mehr” means affection.

It is not clear how much Iranian authorities will monitor or censor the site.

“From now on, people can upload their short films on the website and access [state-run Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting] produced material,” said IRIB deputy chief Lotfollah Siahkali in announcing the site.

Iran has censored YouTube since the 2009 mass protests against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s reelection. 

The Islamic Republic, which has been deemed one of the “Enemies of the Internet” by media watchdog Reporters Without Borders, has also blocked access to Facebook and Twitter. It has also tried to block access to Western media websites, government sites, and even the popular online game World of Warcraft.

In September, Iran went even further, blocking access to all Google and Gmail services for some users after the controversial, amateurish “Innocence of Muslims” film was uploaded to YouTube that incensed protests across the Muslim world for several weeks.

At the time, Reporters Without Borders said the move was convenient for Iranian authorities because it coincided with plans to roll out its “National Internet” that Western governments and watchdogs fear will cut Iran off from the rest of the Web. The internal Internet aims to be free of Western content.

Iranian authorities have said that creating a national network is for security purposes in shielding Iranian businesses and government websites from cyber attacks.

“Internet in its essence is an unsafe network, it will be changed to a safe network for the electronic government’s exchanges through launching the national grid and using locally-made software,” Iranian Minister of Communication and Information Technology Reza Taghipour said, according to the semi-official Iranian Students News Agency.

Later, he told Al Jazeera in September: “The establishment of the national intelligence network will create a situation where the precious intelligence of the country won’t be accessible to these powers.”

The U.S. State Department, however, has been an ardent critic of Iran’s alleged “plans to place an electronic curtain of surveillance, satellite jamming and online filtering around its people,” cutting them off from information and ideas.

In response to the censorship, the United States and the European Union have placed sanctions on officials in Iran

Communication Minister Reza Taghipour will also likely be sanctioned, after the State Department accused him last month of “ordering the jamming of satellite television broadcasts and restricting internet connectivity.”

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  • Larin333

    This is the first article I have seen on this written by an Educated person. A good indicator is use of the word Persian.
    Anyway, it looks like it is being blocked by u.s censors. not surprsing because Starbuck’s took the lead in censoring Iran-based sites such as PressTV from their “free” internet at their disgusting iCoffee shops, while at the same time, flashing the Jew York Times, Wall Street Jewrnal, MSNBC, Slate,BBC, Reuters in your face when you first log in…one of the reasons I don’t go to Star(of David)buck’s or any of its affiliates. Obviously according to Star(ofDavid)Buck’s rules we are only allowed to see the Anglo and Ashkenazi lies of the controlled media

  • Larin333

    “ordering the jamming of satellites”? The EU and US have been bullying everyone including cable companies and satellite service providers to block news and media from Iran such as PressTV. I wonder why that is and what certain people are so affraid of?


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