Repression of Social Media and Freedom of Expression Does Little to Quell Social Unrest in Iran

 By INU Staff

INU - A number of companies in Iran provided money to Farsi satellite channels via purchasing advertisements. These companies were recently closed down.

The Iranian regime prohibits the use of satellite dishes as morally damaging, but most people still use them. The regime attempts to repress freedom of expression through a variety of methods, but despite the attempts, social unrest within Iran continues.

Apparently, the regime believes that punishing companies for providing financial support to these channels will drive the channels out of business due to dwindling financial support.

“These companies paid large sums of money to buy Turkish TV series to advertise their products and were shut down on orders of judicial officials. They have been summoned to court to answer questions about their charges,” a source stated, and added, “One of the heads of these companies is wanted for his widespread financial connection to (satellite TV) channels that are against the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

These channels are being targeted by the regime, as they are seen as being against the Republic of Iran. A special security force has been devoted to tracking and identifying “suspicious channels and groups”, as well as various websites, news groups, and social media websites.

This means that publishing something that could be viewed as anti-regime sentiments could place you before the courts, like what occurred with the Bulletin News Website. The court saw to the case of the Bulletin News Website on charges of publishing lies to disturb public opinion and was found guilty unanimously by the jury, according to a spokesperson of the Media Court Jury.

In other trials, judges impose large penalties on these organizations. A recent case involves the Intelligence Ministry and Telegram channels, who’s channels with anti-religious content may be blocked. Admins of these channels have been referred to the Judiciary for a variety of charges.

In fact, Iran's communications and information technology minister accused the widely used Telegram messenger service, used by millions of Iranians, of transferring some of its servers into the country. Iran's semi-official ISNA news agency quoted Mahmoud Vaezi as saying, "As a result of meetings with Telegram managers, some of its servers have been moved to the country.”

The encrypted application's founder denied the claim. Telegram CEO Pavel Durov said that's not so, reiterating the company's position in a Twitter message to The Associated Press on Sunday.