Iran's President-Elect: Net Filtering Doesn't Work... Oh, And By The Way, Human Rights Are Universal

from the he-said-what??? dept

In the past, Iran has provided plenty of light relief here on Techdirt, whether because of plans to build its own Internet, or thanks to weird stuff like this. But it looks like those days are over following the election of a surprisingly-moderate President, Hassan Rouhani. Here, for example, are his thoughts on Net filters, as reported by The Guardian:

"Supporters of internet filtering should explain whether they've successfully restricted access to information? Which important piece of news has filtering been able to black out in recent years?"

He added: "Filtering has not even stopped people from accessing unethical [a reference to pornographic] websites. Widespread online filtering will only increase distrust between people and the state."
That's a pretty remarkable statement, since it comes from a nation that has tried to impose Net censorship more rigorously than most. It's also important, because it underlines why Western countries that keep flirting with the idea of introducing Net filtering are simply wasting their time. Rouhani has some other points that Western leaders would do well to remember:
"Injustice is an injustice...it's a double standard to call an injustice in an unfriendly country as an injustice but to label the same thing in a friendly country as not...human rights is same in any place around the world."
It's early days yet, and it remains to be seen whether the new President will be able to push through reforms in the face of conservative resistance in Iran. But it certainly looks like we might be seeing some interesting stories coming out of Iran soon, even if they are not so amusing as those Techdirt has carried in the past.

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Filed Under: civil liberties, free speech, hassan rouhani, internet filtering, iran


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Jul 2013 @ 4:24pm

    The power in Iran is with the religious supreme leader, not the president.

    http://www.leader.ir/langs/en/index.php?p=leader_law

    The supreme leader is appointed by "people's" representatives and I do believe but did not research it that the representatives that make up the council is appointed by the supreme leader.

    The presidency is a token position.
    A cunning way to simulate the appearance of a just and democratic state. A decoy, a lame duck or whatever one would like to call it.

    So I don't believe it will change anything.

    Recently though I believe the elections are being used as a compass, signaling in which direction the public is leaning towards and enabling the supreme leader to take show or hide his true motivations and desires.

    Meaning, although I don't believe that the Iranian leadership will change its instances, it will make them less likely to spout dictatorial nonsense freely, unless they want to end up with a second revolution in their hands, and this time the supreme leader will not be celebrated as a liberator.

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