The Internet In Iran

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The Internet in Iran  : The Battle Over an Emerging Virtual Public Sphere by GholamKhiabany and Annabelle Sreberny

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The Internet In Iran

  1. 1. Prepared for 2009 Graduate seminar<br />Information Society & Multiculturism (prof. Han Woo Park)<br />At Yeungnam Univ. in S. Korea <br />The Internet in Iran  : The Battle Over an Emerging Virtual Public Sphere byGholamKhiabanyand Annabelle Sreberny<br />Presented by Ji-Young Parkheytreee@gmail.com 26November 2009 <br />
  2. 2. *Iran <br /> (Persian: ایران [ʔiˈɾɒn])<br /> officially the Islamic Republic of Iranis a country in Western Asia<br /> The name Iran has been in <br /> use natively and came into inter-national use from 1935, before <br /> which the country was known internationally as Persia. <br />Source : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran<br />
  3. 3. Introduction <br />After Iran`s Islamic Republic was established in 1979 all developments in relation to the Internet and cyberspace have occurred in a postrevolutionary and highly politicized environment, in which shiite Islam became <br /> the ideology of thedominant theocratic state.<br />  the central issue is not the obvious and crude divide <br /> between a “traditional” “religious” “modern” even<br /> “secular” technology <br />
  4. 4. Introduction <br />Two subtle line of tension running through Internet development in Iran that drive this chapter <br />1. centralizingstate`s desire to control expression in a <br /> &quot;new technology&quot; enviroment that is highyly conducive to widespread and popular participation.<br />2. centralizingstate`s desire to orchestrate and manage <br /> the slow development of the private sector and the <br /> inhibitions placed on entrepreneurial ICT activity in a <br /> field that has made Internet millionaires in other parts <br /> of the world. <br />
  5. 5. A BRIEF REPRISE OF CONTEMPORARY IRANIAN HISTORY PRODUCING AN ISLAMIC REVOLUTION <br />all Iranians over the age of 18, including women, who were enfranchised in the 1930s by Reza Shah, elect a president, as well as representatives to the Majles, or the Parliament <br />Roozegar-e Ma (Our Time) are vivid explorations of contemporary political desires and imaginative possibilities, when even young women feel able to run for the presidency. <br />http://video.google.com/videosearch?hl=en&source=hp&q=Roozegar-e%20Ma&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=wv#<br />
  6. 6. 1979 revolution in Iran<br />source : http://www.iranchamber.com/history/islamic_revolution/islamic_revolution.php<br />
  7. 7. A BRIEF REPRISE OF CONTEMPORARY IRANIAN HISTORY PRODUCING AN ISLAMIC REVOLUTION <br />The Islamic Republic of Iran was, and remains, a contradictory entity. <br /> - with Velayat-e-Faqihas the religious head of an Islamic polity.<br /> Ayatollah Khamenei<br />Khomeini was, of course, the first, followed by Khamenei, the extant unelected leader. <br />
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  9. 9. A BRIEF REPRISE OF CONTEMPORARY IRANIAN HISTORY PRODUCING AN ISLAMIC REVOLUTION <br />An 8 year war with Iraq that produced colossal death, injury, and destruction, a lack of clear and coherent policies, and a very volatile political atmosphere<br />Yet, the policies have been ad hoc and contradictory and therefore, the development and expansion of the Internet is constrained by confusion in government policies, varied institutional interests, and above all, the dialectical tension between the imperative of the market and the “revolutionary” claims of the state. <br />
  10. 10. A BRIEF REPRISE OF CONTEMPORARY IRANIAN HISTORY PRODUCING AN ISLAMIC REVOLUTION <br />The status of telecommunication in Iran demonstrates the rate of expansion and growth. <br />
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  14. 14. INTERNET IN IRAN : NEW TECHNOLOGY, OLD PROBLEMS<br />In Iran as elsewhere, access to media in general, and the Internet in particular, is regulated above all by disposable income. <br /> 1) :The High-tech boycott and lack of investment in importing hardware the cheapest computer in Iran costs around 4,500,000 Rials, or $450. <br /> 2) The average cost of Internet access is 350,000 Rials ($35.00) per month, and this does not include telephone line rentals. <br />e.g) 1 Mpbs ADSL connection <br />in London cost £80 / in Iran £92,00<br />
  15. 15. INTERNET IN IRAN : NEW TECHNOLOGY, OLD PROBLEMS<br />The cost of Internet access in general is linked to the density of a country`s Internet population and the distance from the main servers. <br />In Iran, a computer costs twice the “average” monthly salary in urban areas and three times the “average” monthly salary in rural areas. <br />(The “average” annual income of course suppresses the harsh realities of Iran even further by inflating real wages and obscuring the fact that many Iranian families are on incomes of less than $50 per month)<br />
  16. 16. CONTRADICTORY POLICIES AND INSTITUTIONAL INTERESTS <br /> Iran, a number of other factor have prevented the more rapid penetration of the Internet<br />1. The political tension between the United States and Iran<br /> -The effect of the United States embargo.<br /> however, American embargoes prohibit software compa-nies, such as Microsoft, from doing business in Iran, a factor that contributes to widespread software piracy in the country, and is helped by the fact that Iran is not a signatory to international copyright convention.<br />
  17. 17. CONTRADICTORY POLICIES AND INSTITUTIONAL INTERESTS <br /> Iran, a number of other factor have prevented the more rapid penetration of the Internet<br />Despite clear tension between the two countries as well as America sanctions, Iranian companies and institutions are ready, as well as are American companies, to establish ventures through an intermediary. <br /> - DCI (Data Communication Company) of Iran`s agreement with GulfSat Kuwait <br /> - ISPs in Iran (Virayeshgar and Pars Supaleh) <br /> └ The American companies 3com and AT&T, respectively<br />
  18. 18. CONTRADICTORY POLICIES AND INSTITUTIONAL INTERESTS <br /> Iran, a number of other factor have prevented the more rapid penetration of the Internet<br />2. Crucial aspect of the development of the Internet in Iran is the competing agendas and conflicting interests within Iran`s state apparatus.<br />
  19. 19. CONTRADICTORY POLICIES AND INSTITUTIONAL INTERESTS <br /> Iran, a number of other factor have prevented the more rapid penetration of the Internet<br />The Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution, as early as 1980, was to oversee general cultural policy. <br />Given the specific tasks of managing and running the press, the Iranian News Agency<br />Iranian Broadcasting(Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting(IRIB)) was Brought under the direct control of the Supreme Leader in 1989 <br />Two major Iranian publishing firms ( Keyhan and Etela`at)<br /> -> “public property”<br />
  20. 20. CONTRADICTORY POLICIES AND INSTITUTIONAL INTERESTS <br />The tension within the state as well as between the state and private sectors, is one of the many faces of the “digital divide” in Iran. <br /> such tensions clearly illustrate the social dimension of the Internet.<br />In particular, the concerns of the private sector and the “moderate”factions of the Iranian establishment echo recent global debates about the Internet as profoundly democratizing and competitive <br />
  21. 21. CONTRADICTORY POLICIES AND INSTITUTIONAL INTERESTS <br />Lack of resources, expertise, clear policies, commitment to privatization<br /> The private sector began to dominate the market<br /> In early 2000, as cyber-cafes (cafenet) began to mushroo-m in big cities competing with each other and the TCI, prices began to plummet, especially when some cafes began to offer “economy” or “saver” packages of ten- to twenty-hour blocks of Internet access<br /> (The TCI reported a $20 million profit in 1998 -&gt;in 2002 loss of $32)<br /> Cheaper forms of communication <br />http://www.bbc.co.uk/persian/science/030510_h-banned-sites.shtml<br />After 1997 ( with growing public access to the Internet) <br />
  22. 22. CONTRADICTORY POLICIES AND INSTITUTIONAL INTERESTS <br /> Weblog<br />Initially started in September 2000 via Persian instructio-ns posted by a young Iranian blogger has grown into a massive collective phenomenon <br />A combination of factors paved the way for such a rapid growth of the blogosphere. <br />The existence of an already dissatisfied young population challenging the Iranian state and actively seeking a new order.<br />www.webnevesht.comis written by Mohammad Ali Abtahi, one of Iran`s six vice presidents during Khatami`s presidency. <br />MehdiKahlji an August 2005 went as far as to call the holy city of Qom the ‘IT Capital of Iran’<br />
  23. 23. CONTRADICTORY POLICIES AND INSTITUTIONAL INTERESTS <br />Weblog<br />Many are locations for the presentation of individual lives, with family photos, love poems- , and all the accoutrements of bourgeois individualism that can be found on british or American blogger site.<br />But, even the least-popular blogs are no longer about individuals as such, since even the most private and anonymous blogs have become part of a wider community of interests through the addition link.<br />tahsilat.webialist.com <br />http://womeniniran.net/<br />
  24. 24. INTERNET POLICY AND CONTROL <br />The dominant faction`s response to the Internet has been twofold.<br />They have recognized the usefulness of the Internet as a tool for propaganda and furthering their policies and aims<br /> -The most fascinating examples come from religious centers in the holy cities of Qom and Mashhad, where websites are designed and launched to promote Islam and the teachings and values of the Islamic Republic. In one computer center in Qom, more than 2,000 Islamic texts were transferred onto CD-ROM, and later onto the Internet<br /> └ This new technology, as Rahimi has suggested, allows the clergy to spread Islam and provide their own tafsir(interpretation) <br />
  25. 25. INTERNET POLICY AND CONTROL <br />Beside the attempt to colonize the Internet with their own materials, including news and analysis, the conserv-atives have tried to block access, as well as censor undesirable content. <br /> - BBC announced that a list of 15,000 site had been drawn up by the government in 2003 and was sent to all Iranian ISPs for blocking http://stop.censoring.us/<br />
  26. 26. INTERNET POLICY AND CONTROL <br />Both IRIB(threatened by satellite channels and calls for the introduction of private channels) and the TCI (threatened by the private sector) not only kept their grip on their respected field, but were also given further opportunity to influence the development of the Internet in Inran<br />Iran`s ISP Association (one of the newly established institutions of “civil society”) criticized the dicision requiring them to provide Internet access through the TCI<br />
  27. 27. INTERNET POLICY AND CONTROL <br />According to Iran Civil Society Organization (CSO) training and Research Center, there are two layers and three methods of Internet censorship in Iran. <br />Two layer<br />The Internet in Iran is controlled and censored via access service points that remain the monopoly of the TIC. <br />As we have already argued, is the government regulation, which forces ICPs and ISPs to use filtering system, take notice of regulati-on, and update themselves with the lists for banned sites provided by authorities. <br />
  28. 28. INTERNET POLICY AND CONTROL <br />According to Iran Civil Society Organization (CSO) training and Research Center, there are two layers and three methods of Internet censorship in Iran. <br />Three methods<br />Close all ports that have been used by savvy Internet users to bypass filtering systems<br />Censoring keywords in URLs, yet another obligation that ICPs and ISPs have to meet. <br /> -(such as “women”, the banning of “women” in particular generated a campaign supported by many bloggers that employed the slogan, “censorship is indecent, not women” <br />Most Internet users still use dial-up services due to Limited availability and cost of broadband.<br />
  29. 29. CONCLUSION<br />In Iran, the notion of “the Internet” remains problematic, suppresses the diversity of technologies imbeded in “new media”<br /> - differential access (both socially and geographically) - different policies <br /> - Internationally, US sanctions and Iranian avoidance of copyright legislation have their impacts.<br /> - Internally, the state has faced different kinds of contestation. <br /> (by public demands for greater political and cultural openness, expressed most vehemently by intellectuals, women, and students)<br />
  30. 30. Thank you for your attention<br />شكرا<br />

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