Barely a few months after unblocking Facebook, in February 2009, Iran has decided to block it yet again.
The popular social network was blocked for being ‘illegal’ back in 2006. This time, the reason for blocking it seems to be politically motivated, although no official reason has been provided for it yet.
In fact, when questioned about it, the President said he was unaware of it and would investigate the matter.
The country is facing its 10th Presidential elections, which are due to be held on the 12th of June.
The candidates set to run for office are the current President, Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, Mir-Hossein Mosavi the former speaker of the Majlis, Mehdi Karroubi and Mohsen Rezai, who is a conservative.
The powers that be have reason to believe that their main political opponent Mir-Hossein Mosavi has over 5,200 supporters on Facebook. It is obvious that they do not want him to make use of the network as a way to campaign and motivate his followers against the incumbent President.
In spite of being blocked time and again in Iran, Facebook remains the 10th most popular site in Iran as reported by Radio Free Europe.
A spokesperson of Facebook said, “We are disappointed to learn of reports, that users in Iran may not have access to Facebook, especially at a time when voters are turning to the internet as a source of information about election candidates and their positions. We are investigating these reports.”
“We believe that people around the world should be able to use Facebook to communicate and share information with their friends, family and coworkers. It is always a shame when a country’s cultural and political concerns lead to limits being placed on the opportunity for sharing and expression that the internet provides.”
This kind of restriction on access to information and networking is one of the hazards that the citizens of non-democratic countries have to face, and it only reminds the rest of us, about how lucky we are to be living in a democracy.
Several sources have criticized the blocking.