An Iranian “Comedy of Errors”.
AFP, TEHRAN, Tuesday, Sep 18, 2007 . Iran yesterday unblocked access to the Google search engine and its Gmail e-mail service after briefly filtering them owing to an “error,” the Fars news agency reported. “Due to an error, the Google site was filtered on Sunday evening but the error was corrected and now Google and its different sites like Gmail can be used,” an official from the state-run communications company said. ..”Earlier Hamid Shahriari, the secretary of Iran’s National Council of Information, had confirmed that the sites were being filtered, without providing further explanation.”…see here
The “Youtube” blocking. Iran and (UAE), May 30, 2007 – (The UAE), as well as Iran, are blocking YouTube due to their standard censorship of “offensive material”. It is unlikely that their big fat firewall will open up for YouTube anytime soon. see here.
It is an Iran routine to block foreign sites not compatible with the local political and Islamic dictates. A way to achieve this is putting pressure on the foreign media-makers to self-censorship their sites.
Inside Iran. From the Iran- annual repport 2007 ..” Self-censorship is still the best way to survive for many media-outlets. The regime’s leaders, social taboos, women’s rights and regional ethnic demands are out-of-bounds topics. Self-censorship partly explains the fewer journalists sent to prison. Those jailed are often conditionally released but cannot work freely because they could be imprisoned again at any moment for writing something that displeases the regime. Such legal pressures forced some to go abroad”, see here.
Iran, earlier on 7 September 2007,
Supreme Leader attacks media again, despite verbal protest by journalists.
In his 5 September address, Khamenei accused the Iranian media of “malice” and of “collaborating with enemy media”… “His attack on the media came less than a week after the release of a joint statement signed by more than 150 journalists protesting against the decline in press freedom. They criticised Tehran prosecutor Said Mortazavi for summoning newspaper editors in order to ban them from referring to the case of three students who have been held for three months for allegedly publishing “anti-Islamic” articles. They also threatened to continue issuing joint statements if the situation did not change”, see here.
Inside Iran the pressure on the local media is effective because “the government proposed a law in 2006 that would force media workers to register with the ministry of culture and Islamic guidance.”, see here.
The blocking and unblocking of Google and Gmail is more a warning than an error.