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Increased crackdowns on immodesty on state TV; TV coverage of Ahmadinejad's UN trip reveals domestic political strife; Google issues warning to Iranian users; Iran to create its own Google Earth; Cyberdefense to be taught in highschool
Persian Cyberspace Report: 9/11 ten years on and an official Google blog for Iran--Last week we looked at online celebrations for the tenth anniversary of the Persian blogosphere but this week we talk about public sympathy and mourning, ten years on, for the victims of 9/11. Also this week, has Google launched an official blog in the Persian language or is it a practical joke? Mir Hossein Mousavi propels Gabriel García Márquez to the top of Iran’s bestseller list and Somayeh Tohidloo describes being lashed by prison officials at Evin prison for her part in the Mousavi campaign in 2009.
Iran has banned TV programs showing half-naked men, love triangles, inappropriate socialising of men and woman at work, at parties or in family situations from being broadcast on state television the semi-official Fars news agency reported on Monday, in the latest sign of a conservative crackdown on media in the Islamic state.
Tehran rocks, but only underground. This article explores Iran’s booming underground heavy rock music scene. The last few years have seen harsher crackdowns on musicians. The government is particularly fussy about genre and detests distorted guitar. Bands like ‘Angband’ have little chance of ever having their music approved internally and are turning to foreign record labels for support instead.
Iran’s Prosecutor General: Water fights are political and organized from ‘the outside.’
Ahmadinejad uses NBC for image upgrade: The flattering report, described as the "first-ever behind-the-scenes access" into the Iranian president’s daily schedule, was aired on the U.S. television network NBC. The "exclusive" report, which reveals unimportant details about Ahmadinejad's life (including the fact that he works with his shoes off but his reading glasses on) is a great piece of propaganda for Ahmadinejad, who heads to New York next week to attend the UN General Assembly.
Behind the scenes politics at play in Ahmadinejad's trip: In the past, the policy of Iran's state-controlled media had been to portray Mr. Ahmadinejad's belligerence as an international victory against the "Great Satan" and the unjust world order. That praise has advanced the president's domestic agenda. If the Ayatollah Khamenei wants to rein in the president, this trip will not receive the same media coverage.
Google issues warning to Iranian users: Google advised its Iranian Gmail users to change their passwords, update their account recovery information and delete any suspicious forwarding addresses as well applications that can access their accounts. Apple has been described as being slow to protect users in Iranian hacker attack.
Iran’s LGBT community launches an online campaign to defend gay rights. Iranian homosexuals from all over the world are taking part in an online campaign in defiance of a regime that criminalizes homosexuality. Their slogan: “We are everywhere.” Despite President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad claiming in New York in 2007, that there were no homosexuals in Iran, over 1,900 web users have joined this page which encourages gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Iranians to share their personal stories.
Iran Urges Expansion of Media Cooperation with Ukraine: Speaking at a meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart, Zarqami noted the problems faced by Ukraine's national TV in confronting the western media stream, and said, "The Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) is ready to transfer its experiences in defusing the campaign launched by the arrogant (powers') media which are seeking to create isolation and a feeling of dismay in independent states." This comes on the heels of announcing the planned launch of a Spanish language satellite as Iran seeks to explain its “ideological legitimacy.”
'News Of A Kidnapping' A Hit In Iran After Opposition Leader's Recommendation. "If you want to understand my situation, read Gabriel Garcia Marquez's 'News of a Kidnapping,'" Iranian opposition leader Mir Hossein Musavi was quoted as having said in a recent meeting with his daughters. Since then, a number of Iranian websites and blogs have made an electronic version of the book in Persian available for download. Green Movement activists and supporters claim the book has already been downloaded more than 4,000 times.
From the Farsi Newsletter
State TV viewing numbers down: According to Hamidreza Moghaddamfar, the Revolutionary Guards’ Deputy of Cultural Affairs, the IRIB’s audience share has decreased by 30% since the disputed election in 2009.
97% of films made in Iran are “immodest”. Farajollah Salahshour, the director of the serial “The Seven Sleepers” criticized the condition of the Iranian film industry in an interview calling it the playground of the “enemy” and of the west. He considers 97% of films made in Iran to be “immodest” and unfavorable.
Requests to censor ‘bad’ news: Chief of Justice Zabiyollah Khodayan recognises that the right to information is a pivotal right of the people but is seeking to prevent the publication of news that may cause dissatisfaction or feelings of insecurity. Soon people may ask, “Would you like the good news or the good news?”
Iranian government wants to recruit more bloggers: Gholam Reza Jalali, the head of Iran’s soft defence has said that Iran needs to recruit 10 million more Basiji bloggers in order to counter the soft war.
Hacking a conspiracy: Mehdi Behrouzi, the Deputy of Iran’s CERT (Computer Emergency Response Team) at Isfahan University, said that the hacking of Google Certificates was a media conspiracy initiated by foreign governments against Iran.
Cyberdefense to be taught in high school from next year: Iran is updating the content of its defense course, compulsory in high schools across Iran, to reflect the threats posed by Soft War and equip students with the necessary knowledge to deal with it.
Iranian government wants to wipe Google Earth off its own map: Iran is launching a new system called “Basir,” which does exactly the same job as Google Earth. It is unclear how Iran will obtain the satellite imagery as they reportedly lack the technical capabilities for taking their own pictures. The head of the geographic division of Iran’s army has said that “Basir” will prevent Google Earth from spying on other countries. General Nami didn’t provide any more information on how exactly the software will do this.
Balatarin under DDOS attack: Balatarin.com, a popular Persian bookmarking and linksharing website, came under DDOS attack this week. This site repeatedly came under DDOS attack after the disputed presidential election in 2009. The widespread reportage on the lashing of an Iranian blogger on Balatarin was suggested as a possible reason.