Web & Social
With YouTube having been deemed inappropriate by Iran’s theocratic regime in 2009, the country is now launching an alternative site, called Mehr (meaning "affection"), that lets users upload and view content they create, and watch videos produced by the national broadcaster, IRIB. According to AFP, the site’s About Us page states its aims are to lure Persian-speaking users and advance Iranian culture.
Sites like YouTube and Facebook have been censored in Iran since a hotly-contested 2009 election that saw current President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad defeat moderate rival Mir Hossein Mousavi. More recently, the country has been ratcheting up control over what its citizens do online, announcing plans to launch a domestic intranet in early 2013 (the world's first), although authorities claim access to the global internet will not be cut entirely. Needless to say, not all of the country's citizens are equally enthusiastic about the censorship. Earlier this year AFP pointed out that 20 to 30 percent of Iran’s web users get around current efforts by using Virtual Private Networks (VPN), but the country’s police are trying to crack down on "illegal" use of the technology.