December 10, 2012
State-Controlled Answer To YouTube Launched In Iran
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online
Iran has launched its own video-sharing website to rival YouTube -- the latest attempt by that country's government to create state-approved alternatives to popular online services is considered inappropriate by Tehran's Islamic regime, various media outlets reported on Sunday.According to the AFP news agency, the website has been called Mehr, which means "affection" in the Farsi language.
The goal of the website, according to the French news agency's review of its "About Us" page, is to promote the culture of Iran and attract Persian-speaking users. Furthermore, they say that a Facebook page dedicated to the service includes links to some of the content carried on Mehr, which includes original music clips produced in Iran.
"Iran has consistently censored YouTube since mid-2009, in the wake of the disputed elections that returned President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to power," AFP explained.
"It has also been trying to stop its population accessing a number of foreign websites authorities see as undermining the Islamic regime, including popular social networking sites Facebook and Twitter, as well as the online pages of many Western media outlets, blogs, and pornographic hubs," they added.
Back in September, the Iranian government announced that it would begin restricting the people's access to the Google search engine and Gmail webmail service -- a move made in retaliation for an anti-Islamic video that had been uploaded to YouTube, according to CNET's Steven Musil.
"At the same time, a government deputy minister announced that the government was moving ahead with much-rumored plans to create a domestic Internet as a way to improve cybersecurity," Musil added. "All government agencies and offices have already been connected to the 'national information network,' according to a Reuters report at the time that indicated the next step was to connect citizens to the network."
While Tehran officials have denied reports that the government was developing their own, self-contained and state-controlled Internet, CNET reports that local media claims the system would be up and running by March of next year. It remains unclear whether or not access to the World Wide Web would be completely blocked once the domestic system is officially launched, Musil said.
"Iranian Internet users have grown accustomed to censorship. The country's government cut off access to the Internet a few times earlier this year, the latest of which blocked access to all encrypted international sites outside the country that operate on Secure Sockets Layer protocol," he explained.
"Many Iranians use proxy servers over Virtual Private Networks to circumvent government efforts to block access to foreign news sites and social networks such as Facebook and Twitter," the CNET night news editor added.