Posts Tagged ‘censorship’

In yet anther example that a loosening of the brutish theocratic rule experienced by Iran’s population is still very far from being realised, a concerted attempt to intimidate and prosecute women who choose to appear on Facebook’s Instagram app, and the creative people who work with them, has just been revealed by the BBC. All forms of cultural expression in Iran are still rigidly controlled by the State, despite the election of “moderate” Hassan Rouhani as President in 2013.


A woman walks down a street in Tehran, Iran (28 April 2016)

Image copyright EPA The covering of hair in public has been compulsory for women in Iran since 1979

Iran has arrested eight people working for online modelling agencies deemed to be “un-Islamic”, the prosecutor of Tehran’s cybercrimes court has said.

The arrests are part of an operation that has seen women targeted for posting photos showing them not wearing headscarves on Instagram and elsewhere.

Women in Iran have been required to cover their hair in public since 1979.

The eight unnamed people were among 170 identified by investigators as being involved in modelling online. They included 59 photographers and make-up artists, 58 models and 51 fashion salon managers and designers, according to a statement from the court.

‘Sterilising cyberspaces’

The arrests were announced by the court’s prosecutor Javad Babaei during a state television programme broadcast late on Sunday that focused on the “threats to morality and the foundation of family” posed by social media. Mr Babaei claimed modelling agencies accounted for about 20% of posts on Instagram from Iran and that they had been “making and spreading immoral and un-Islamic culture and promiscuity”.

Of the 170 people found to be involved in online modelling, 29 were warned that they were subject to criminal investigation, the prosecutor added.

“The persons who reformed their behaviour after receiving a notice did not face any judicial action, and eight out of the 29 have been arrested,” he said.

A spokesman of the Iranian Centre for Surveying and Combating Organised Cyber Crimes, Mostafa Alizadeh, said: “Sterilising popular cyberspaces is on our agenda. We carried out this plan in 2013 with Facebook, and now Instagram is the focus,” he added, saying fresh operations would begin in the coming days.

There was no immediate comment from the photo-sharing site Instagram, which is owned by Facebook.

Right, three long stories posted today. But now, as it approaches 8am on the Eastern seaboard of America, I am joining the worldwide internet strike for 24 hours. I cannot understand why so many legislators in the world are obsessed with curtailing our freedom of speech. It’s not like they haven’t got anything else to worry about, like fiddling their expenses or starting illegal wars. Needless to say, Wellthisiswhatithink will be back, after we have metaphorically scaled the barricades and hung a few idiots from lamp-posts. Pip pip!

A simple, but effective protest. Let's hope those numbskulls in the American congress listen.

FOOTNOTE: News is already coming from America that key legislators in the US Senate and Congress have backed off from the proposed bill at a million miles an hour, including one of key sponsors, Sen Rubio of Florida. Read more here:

He might not have thought it through properly first, but good on him for being prepared to admit he was wrong.

And well done every single website in the world who joined the strike against a measure which was draconian in nature and very worrying in its implications. There’s no arguing against commonsense.

Or, to put it another way: “The people, united, will never be defeated.”