Friday, January 05, 2007

Iranian Censorship Watch

One thing that hasn't changed in this new year is the war on intellectual freedom waged by Iran's Islamist autocracy. For example, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty brings word that an Iranian musician has been sentenced to two years in prison for playing music deemed insulting to Islam:

A colleague said Habib Meftah Bushehri was convicted in connection with a performance in France in 2006, during which their group, Shanbezadeh, played religious music.

Band leader Saeed Shanbezadeh told Radio Farda in an interview from Paris that the court issued its sentence after viewing a recording of the performance.

"The judge's interpretation is that our work is an insult to sanctities because we played [the southern Iranian city of] Bushehr's religious music," Shanbezadeh said. "The religious music of Bushehr is some of the strongest and most beautiful music in southern Iran; it's an important part of our culture. I'm surprised that someone can issue such a verdict."

(Emphasis added-DD)

Also from RFE/RL comes a bit of good news: the two Iranian web site editors arrested last week have been released. Unfortunately, the same article also reports the following:

Meanwhile, Iran's Culture Ministry has announced that as of January 1 all Iran-based websites and blogs must register their Internet address with the ministry.

The announcement has led to protests among media rights activists, who see it as an attempt by the authorities to tighten their control of the Internet.

The spokesman of the Tehran-based Society To Defend Press Freedom, Mashaollah Shamsolvaezin, has described the move as a violation of Iran's consitution.

The web site Boing Boing provides additional confirmation of the registration requirement (link via Instapundit).

Overall, the status of free expression in Iran continues to be grim.


Anonymous Davette Zinik said...

There was an interesting story on NPR's Morning Edition (1/6/07) about how the Iranian government is cracking down on the publishing industry and how difficult it is to get a book published there.

Iran's Leader Pushes Book Censorship
by Mike Shuster

Weekend Edition Saturday, January 6, 2007 ยท For the most part, former president Mohammed Khatami left the publishing industry alone. But President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's censors are holding up the printing of thousands of books.

1:40 PM  

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