During a meeting with senior heads of the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology on Monday, Iran regime’s president Hassan Rouhani admitted that there is no free media and press in Iran.
He criticized the lack of free press and the state’s control over the media.
In comments carried by the ILNA news agency, Rouhani said that “we think we have received divine authority that allows us to order people around; that is not the case.”
Iran’s president acknowledged that the state controlled Iran’s media and blamed the social media “inflation” on the lack of free press in Iran.
“The reason is that we don’t have free press. We have government run press, government run TV and radio. If we had 500 media sources, there would not be such an inflation in social media platforms,” he said adding that inflation was not only in economics but was also relevant on social media.
He then blamed the increase in social media usage on the lack of free press, saying that people would not be compelled to do so if non-government media was allowed to exist.
Rouhani said: “(The people) express everything (on social media) because they have nowhere else to talk. If the various factions had a TV station, they would express half of their statements there. They would talk officially, not unofficially, and it would be clear who is saying what. But now (on social media) it’s not clear who these people are and where they came from.”
He advised that the Regime’s attempts to filter the internet or ban certain social media sites have failed to stop Iranians from using social media to share their views, which he for some reason described as people “misusing” the internet, and believed that education about how to use the internet was in order.
“We have been unsuccessful in some of our measures because we thought that these tools of communication were under our command to order their filtering,” he said.
“Then what do we do with proxies after the filtering? What is result of these actions? Everyone is losing, while young people and teenagers are the most influenced by the negative effects of filtering,” Rouhani added.
According to him, “educational” methods had to be implemented to prevent the misuse of the internet and social media platforms in Iran.
He failed to say which institution actually ordered the filtering of social media platforms and advocated the arrest of internet activists and social media channel administrators in Iran.
The Assembly of Expert met with Iran’s Minister of Information and Communications Technology on January 17 to discuss the use of social media platforms and found that social media usage was a danger to Iran’s religion and independence, because most social media platforms are based in the US and under US authority, according to Ahmad Khatami the Assembly spokesperson.
He said: “The question is not whether to not use social media platforms. This would be like when the radio first came, some said not to use it despite the fact that this was impossible and one has to use new spaces and facilities. The important issue is that we should not let them overthrow the state before we use social media platforms and relevant officials have to use their authority to counter this trend.”
Almost 50% of the top 500 visited websites worldwide are blocked in Iran, including YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and Telegram.
In early January, an Iranian judicial official announced that Iran was also ready to filter Instagram, Facebook’s photo and video-sharing social networking service.
The head of the Virtual Space Department of Iran’s Attorney General’s Office said that a court order had been issued to filter Instagram and that most members of the Supreme Council of Virtual Space, charged with overseeing Iran’s internet, agreed with the filter.