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Lights turned off on media after elections

Text by Marianne NIOSI

Latest update : 2009-06-14

Access to media has been severely restricted in Iran after president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced he had won the election on Saturday. Since Friday, social networking sites have also been the apparent target of Tehran's censorship.

Access to media outlets has been severely restricted in Iran after president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced he had won the election on Saturday. Since Friday, opposition media and social networking sites have also been the apparent target of Tehran censorship.

The AFP news agency reported that Iran’s wireless telephone network was shut down at 5:30pm GMT (10:00pm in Tehran), just as incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was making a television appearance to congratulate himself on a "great victory". Many Iranians, contacted on landline telephones, confirmed this information.

Access to social networking sites Facebook and YouTube was blocked from 4:30pm GMT, according to numerous sources.

Facebook and YouTube are among the main vehicles of communication for opponents in Iran. Numerous videos and photographs of clashes between opponents and police were broadcast on these websites during the day.




In Paris, Iranian Moussavi supporters were also working to keep their countrymen informed. "We send them addresses of software to try to circumvent state censorship," said a young filmmaker who preferred to remain anonymous. Some of these strategies appear successful, as many Iranians have reestablished access to Facebook’s site.

The Web sites belonging to opposition groups have also been extremely difficult to access. "They are so slow we just give up,” said Assadi Nastaran, a Tehran resident who managed to reach FRANCE 24. The BBC’s Persian-language website was also blocked.

Date created : 2009-06-13