Le Web 3: West’s media ‘misrepresent Iran blog censorship’

Western media distorts the extent to which Iran censors weblogs, according to a leading Iranian-Canadian anti-censorship campaigner.

Speaking to the Le Web 3 conference in Paris, Hossein Derakhshan, who claims to have been apprehended, detained and interrogated over posts made to his blog, said: “Less than 100 blogs are filtered out of 100,000 blogs in Persian.

“Many people in the reports are arrested for other reasons but just happen to have a blog. But, the way western media portrays it, they were arrested because they had blogs – [actually], their blogs didn’t have more than 30 or 40 page views a day.

“The government embraces blogging and has given publicity to them. That’s why blogging is a localised phenomenon now, it’s not seen as just a western phenomenon anymore.”

A writer prior to his detention, Mr Derakhshan has since campaigned against censorship. He explained Tehran only censored sites in the Persian language, resulting in the “irony” that Israeli newspapers in Hebrew and English were available online inside Iran. It was recently reported that access to the BBC’s Farsi service had also been barred.

Journalism campaigning group Reporters Sans Frontiers last month branded Iran as “enemies of the internet”, following accusations that it has jailed bloggers.

Mr Derakhshan told the assembled crowd of web entrepreneurs and communicators that a peer-to-peer RSS feed reader could be “the ultimate solution against censorship”, because it would distribute content to many consumers.