By Staff Writer
Iran regime’s president Hassan Rouhani acknowledged that there is no such thing as a free press in Iran, during a meeting with senior heads of the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology on Monday, appearing to criticise that all media in the country is run by the state.
Rouhani said: “We think we have received divine authority that allows us to order people around; that is not the case… We have government-run press, government-run TV and radio.”
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.
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 half of the top 500 visited websites worldwide are blocked in Iran, including YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Telegram, because the mullahs believe that allowing their people to freely communicate with each other and the outside world is dangerous to the future of the Regime. While the head of the Virtual Space Department of Iran’s Attorney General’s Office said earlier this month that Iran was also ready to filter Instagram.