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'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. icon
    Richard Hack (profile), 3 Jul 2013 @ 6:30pm


    The Iranian presidency is not a "token" position. He has real influence over domestic policy such as the economy in Iran. He just has little influence over foreign policy and national security.

    The odds of Iran having a "second revolution", certainly one that is more secular, are next to nil. The majority of Iranians believe in their system of government, even if they aren't totally happy with some of the excesses.

    Compared to US "allies" in the region such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar, which are true monarchical dictatorships, Iran is almost a model democracy. They have a higher voting turnout than the US does. Although the candidates are vetted by the cleric council, I'm not sure that's worse than US candidates being vetted by a corrupt national party leadership angling for corporate contributions.

    And before anyone raises the point about the 2009 elections, there is ZERO evidence of vote fraud in that election. Google for Eric Brill's report on that.

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