Iran Denies Blocking Internet for Youth Under 18
Iran's telecommunications ministry has denied a reformist newspaper report on Sunday that it has prohibited under-18s from going to internet cafes, reported AFP.
"There has been a misunderstanding," Reza Sadri, director of the Data Communication Company of Iran, the ministry's offshoot charged with providing internet services, told the agency.
He said the ruling only blocked Iranians under 18 from opening cyber-cafes.
But Sadri did not dispute other portions of the Hambastegi newspaper's report that indicated a government campaign to censor the internet and limit access to it.
According to Reuters, Iran's state telecoms monopoly has ordered tough new restrictions on internet use, requiring service providers to block some sites.
Regulations issued by the Iran Telecommunications Company order internet service providers (ISPs) to filter all materials presumed immoral or contrary to state security, including the web sites of opposition groups, the Hambastegi newspaper said.
The new rules say ISPs who do not strictly comply risk losing their licenses and facing court action.
The heads of several ISP companies contacted by Reuters said they had not received official notification of the new by-law and had only seen the newspaper reports.
Police closed down more than 400 Internet cafes in Tehran last month, demanding owners obtain licenses to stay in business, added the agency.
There are estimated to be around 1,500 internet cafes in the capital, with more in other major cities.
The cafes are popular with the overwhelmingly youthful population of the Islamic republic, where the state media is tightly controlled by conservatives – Albawaba.com
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