Since becoming president, Rouhani’s views and actions regarding social media are at odds with those of the regime in Tehran and the Iranian people.
Rouhani, Khamenei and many other leaders in Iran all have access to the internet and to social media platforms such as Twitter and facebook but their Iranian compatriots do not for fear that these sites contain content that is not suitable for them under Islamic law.
Rouhani & Social Media
These tweets are in English and meant for foreigners but these accounts are sometimes used to supposedly communicate messages to the Iranian people that will never be seen by them:
- Rouhani thanks “our dear nation” for supporting the negotiations.
- Rouhani is “heartbroken” over the acid attacks and his “heart goes out to the victims and the brave people of #Isfahan”.
The government is currently blocking “tens of thousands” of websites including all social media platforms including facebook which is “a project of the CIA in an attempt to collect data from individuals around the world”, and its founder is “a leading Zionist”.
The regime not only believes that it has the moral right to censure websites, it is working hard to convince the Iranian people that the internet, and specially social media, is bad for them. In fact, the state TV aired a news segment in which users of social media were portrayed as addicts and social media as a vice.
Death Penalty to Blogger
Furthermore, the cyber cops are not only filtering, they are also monitoring internet usage which allows them to pick up offenders who tried to log on to sites that are blocked. The unfortunate people who happened to be monitored, such as Sohel Arabi, are in danger of being arrested, imprisoned and even executed.
Arabi made the critical mistakes of posting four posts on facebook which were monitored and judged to be “insulting the Prophet”.
He was picked up in November 2013 and last week, he found out that he is to be executed for this crime.
To add insult to injury, Arabi’s death sentence was passed while he was in his cell and he found out about it from his wife who visited him.
Arabi’s mistake was to believe that he was free to voice his expressions when in fact there is no freedom of speech nor the freedom to criticize the regime.