Other

The censorship of the internet in short stories

Around 60 percent of the world's population uses the internet daily. It has become an indispensable tool in the modern world. It is difficult to imagine a world without it.

Do all people have the same access to the internet? If not, what are their experiences?

Other is an interactive storytelling project about internet censorship in Iran.

The Story

RSF designated Iran as an "Enemies of the Internet" in 2010 as one of thirteen countries. The Green Revolution of 2009 prompted a wave of cyber regulation, despite many hoping that the global internet would circumvent Iran's censorship of traditional media.

Also called the "Twitter Revolution" Iranian authorities tightened their grip on the internet, which they held responsible for igniting the riots and protests.

In recent years, censorship in Iran has grown significantly, both online and offline. Tens of thousands of media outlets and websites have been blacklisted for producing or exhibiting content that threatens national security.

Iranians are unable to access a variety of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Blogging platforms such as WordPress and Blogger are also blocked, as are websites run by political groups and human rights organizations.

In addition, high-ranking police and government officials are not subject to social media censorship and have unrestricted access. More recently, the "Protection Bill" will place all internet infrastructure under the control of the armed forces and security agencies.

The bill criminalizes the use and distribution of VPNs and proxy services and requires people to sign up for online services using their legal identities.

Furthermore, the bill requires that international tech companies have representation in Iran. Platforms that do not comply with surveillance and censorship orders will have their bandwidth throttled.

Services like WhatsApp, Instagram, and Clubhouse are already experiencing this. As of 2022, the bill has passed the first stage of ratification.

In this project, me and my friends in Iran trying to share our experiences and stories about these limitations with you in an interactive way.

UPDATE

As protesters took to the streets of Iran following the death in detention of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman apprehended for apparently not wearing her hijab properly, videos of the uprising began to flood the internet.

Clips of students tearing up pictures of Iran’s Supreme Leader in northern Iran. Photos of women removing their hijab in Iran’s capital, Tehran. Videos of protesters marching down the streets of the capital with their fists in the air.

The outpouring of anger following Amini’s death was visible to the world.

But then it went dark as WhatsApp, Signal, Viber, Skype, and even Instagram, one of the last remaining social media apps to be usable, were blocked.