The online censorship campaign intensifies in Iran as Tehran police raided more than 430 Internet cafes to combat the growing immorality and inappropriate online contents.
About 25 net cafes are already closed down and 170 more are facing possible shutdown for “using immoral computer games and storing obscene photosâ€.
While authorities consider these contents un-Islamic, store owners and Iranian independent journalists believe this whole campaign is not all about pornographic contents and immoral Websites. Instead, this is a more extensive campaign to censor political sites, blogs, and alternative news as a way to restrict social and intellectual freedom.
Just like China, Iranian authorities might have this notion that they can censor the Internet to preserve their culture and prevent any possible uprising. Perhaps they are not aware that there are many ways to sidestep these filters using simple and free technologies online.
Photo via TechFreep
The Seattle Times columnist Peter Navarro blames the American business schools for not preparing business executives to deal with ethics in a corrupt and totalitarian global-business environment like China.
Moreover, he calls for much bigger discussion about how to engage economically and politically with China.
Such inadequacy has resulted to moral breakdown which was clearly demonstrated by Yahoo! when it helped the Chinese government put business journalist Shi Tao and pro-democracy blogger Wang Xiaoning behind bars for 10 years.
Navarro also cited that other American companies like Skype, Cisco, Google, and Microsoft are helping China censor the Internet.
I just want to add one important factor causing this moral breakdown â€“ greed. With its online population surging and so many ongoing developments, the Chinese market is very profitable. Sharing little information in exchange for bigger deals is very tempting for many profit-driven companies.
Google is the latest victim of Iranâ€™s aggressive crackdown against morally offensive content. AFP reports Google search engine, Google Mail, and other foreign sites are now blocked in this country.
Iran has been losing its battle against degradation of morality allegedly caused by the proliferation of Websites filled with â€œsexual and politically criticalâ€ materials.
“I can confirm these sites have been filtered,” said Hamid Shahriari, the secretary of Iran’s National Council of Information.
While I laud the effort of Iran to uphold high moral standards among their citizens, I donâ€™t think total ban is the right approach. Maybe they should adopt the Virtual Cops strategy currently employed by fellow Asian country, China.
Pearl Jam is crying censorship against AT&T after the lyrics “George Bush, leave this world alone” were silenced during the webcast of Lollapalooza.
“What happened to us this weekend was a wake up call, and it’s about something much bigger than the censorship of a rock band,” the band said in a statement posted in their web site.
AT&T is blaming a webcast editor for the incident.