Freedom House has issued a report entitled: “Freedom on the Net: A Global Assessment of Internet and Digital Media”
It says in the introduction: “As internet and mobile phone use explodes worldwide, governments are adopting new and multiple means for controlling these technologies that go far beyond technical filtering. Freedom on the Net provides a comprehensive look at these emerging tactics, raising concern over trends such as the ‘outsourcing of censorship’ to private companies, the use of surveillance and the manipulation of online conversations by undercover agents. The study covers both repressive countries such as China and Iran and democratic ones such as India and the United Kingdom, finding some degree of internet censorship and control in all 15 nations studied…”
The “Iran chapter”. Among others, it says: “Although Iranians are active readers and producers of online content, the Iranian regime wields one of the world’s most sophisticated apparatuses for controlling the internet and other digital technologies. Internet use in Iran began in 1995 at universities, then spread quickly via internet cafes to an otherwise isolated population with limited access to independent sources of news and entertainment.
The government’s censorship of the medium did not begin until 2001, but users today operate in an environment that features filtering of content—particularly domestically produced political news and analysis—together with intimidation, detention, and torture of bloggers, online journalists, and cyberactivists. As with restrictions on press freedom that date to the early days of the 1979 revolution, the Islamic Republic couches its restrictions on internet freedom in an opaque and arbitrary conception of Islamic morality outlined by the constitution, the press law, and the penal code…”