Iran blocks news sites after 'exposing corruption'

Iran blocks news sites after 'exposing corruption'
A number of news sites have been blocked in Iran, following a number of stories on alleged official corruption in the local mortgage market and officials benefiting from it.
2 min read
05 September, 2016
Iran's increasingly youthful population are becoming more hungry for news from the outside world

Iranian censors blocked access to at least two different news sites on Sunday, after they published embarrassing details about official corruption in Tehran.

According to IranWire, problems started when Memari News, an architectural news website, published a letter on 30 August, accusing the office of Tehrani Mayor, Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, of allegedly giving “huge discounts” on the sale of government property to government officials.

The publication sparked complaints from the mayor of Tehran and Mehdi Chamran, head of Tehran's City Council, ultimately leading to officials blocking the Memari News website on 31 August.

The two news websites which were banned reported that the letter had been published, but were not given any prior notice of closure from the government.

Mohammad Mobin, director of Borna news agency, told Iranian Labor News Agency (ILNA): "I have absolutely no idea why we've been filtered and why there has been such a problem with our news agency.

"Now we are looking for dialogue with the judicial authorities to ask why, and on what basis, this warrant has been issued."

Amir Mortazavi, editor-in-chief of Moj News Agency said: "We received a letter that said, according to Article 23 of the Computer Crimes Act, the secretariat of the Working Group for Identifying Criminal Content has demanded that the website Moj be blocked."

Iran's Working Group for Identifying Criminal Content was created in 2008 under the Attorney General to organise the temporary and permanent closure of various websites.

The first phase of Iran's internal internet, named the 'National Information Network' was launched on August 28.

It aims to cut Iran's internet off from the rest of the world and operate entirely within the parameters and control of the Iranian government.