In a move intended to “purge” western culture Iran has shut down access to some of the world's most popular websites including Amazon and YouTube. Similar edicts have been issued against Wikipedia, the internet encyclopaedia, IMDB.com, and the New York Times site. Attempts to open the sites are met with a page reading: "The requested page is forbidden."
The clampdown was ordered by senior judiciary officials in the latest phase of a campaign that has seen high-speed broadband facilities banned in an attempt to impede "corrupting" foreign films and music. Critics accuse Iran of using filtering technology to censor more sites than any country apart from China. Until now, targets have been mainly linked to opposition groups or those deemed "immoral" under Iran's Islamic legal code.
Last week Mohammed Tourang, head of the information bureau's cultural committee, warned Iranian websites of stricter rules by announcing steps to stamp out "immoral and illegal" content. He said site owners would be given official reminders to eliminate forbidden material. Special attention would be paid to content judged to be a threat to national unity or insulting to sacred religious texts and symbols.
The purge mirrors a rising tide of censorship in Iranian publishing which has resulted in the banning of hundreds of books, including western classics. Illegal satellite dishes have also been seized.
From today’s Guardian