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December 12, 2003

We'll tell you why. Ahmad Motamedi, Iran's Minister of ICT, has been in the summit media centre, talking informally to Iranian journalists and bloggers.

Farshad, editor of Gooya and Gooya news, challenged the Minister directly to explain why one of his websites is blocked (and is only available to Iranians via a proxy server sponsored by the US government).

"We want to know what the limits are," he told the Minister. "You should tell us what causes a website to be blocked and how you make that decision."

Apparently, the Minister accepted this argument and took the name of Farshad's website away with a promise to email him telling him why they had been blocked. He has said he will also provide explanations to other bloggers.

Farshad, who lives in Belgium, described this as a positive step - a step closer to an informed dialogue about Iran's future.

"We're on the verge of something big," he told Daily Summit. " Weblogs are drawing on the huge energy of a new generation. This generation has changed already. In response, the regime has changed a little. If we keep changing, maybe they will keep changing too."

Farshad described President Khatami's press conference as typical of an Iranian politician. "The Iranian government has a very bad habit. They deny everything in public. But after the official press conference, in personal talks like the one we had today, they are more critical than you are of the situation in Iran!

He believes the President has limited room for manoeuvre in Iran, but he at least understands the challenges. "One of his closest advisors blogs, writing about serious issues, but also putting funny photos on his site."

A response to this story from our Arabic site - plus reaction from Iran (one, two).
David Steven @ December 12, 2003 04:47 PM | TrackBack

Comments (9)
well this kind of behavior is not strange.usually iranian politicians have 2 for iran and the other for outside iran,outside they promote democracy and inside they critisize it.
life is beautiful
mio @ December 12, 2003 05:12 PM
It seems to me practically all politicians "have 2 faces". But not only 2. And it mustn't surprise. So are cruel rules of policy and life in whole. Unfortunatly...
LM @ December 12, 2003 08:08 PM
Lies, this is what helps these regime politicians to keep face. Many sites are blocked and he says only 240. Lies people, lies!
Hamed @ December 12, 2003 09:38 PM
I am impressed, this is good step, by I have to tell you my impression, Farshad and Gooya are involved with the censorship themselves, they have a filter in their own way, Believe me, we were all born with censorship, we are fitering even ourselves, our souls, but in total this conversation with minister was an improving step. congrats
iran4dummies @ December 12, 2003 09:39 PM
Hi.i would appriciate it if someone tells me where i could find out about blocked sites.i wanna know if there's a list of these sites or not?
adiabatic @ December 13, 2003 08:14 AM
he said farshad, i'll e- mail you , but i thnk motanedi wont answer to this question
zoya @ December 13, 2003 11:52 AM
I can not see link. It has been filtered since August.
f14 pilot @ December 14, 2003 09:22 AM
I can't also visit
I used Pars Online, Afra, Mahvar, Pasargad, Azad ISPs in Tehran.
Hell with these Mullahs.
Freedom_Fighter @ December 14, 2003 09:29 AM
Remove Internet Censorship in Iran.
Viva Freedom.
NY @ December 14, 2003 09:36 AM

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