Iran’s government is aiming to bring free of charge internet for its people. Apart from that, government officials are changing their point of view about internet censorship. They believe that the aim should be towards suitable content, instead of limiting people’s access.

Censorship Is Not the Way, Culture is the key

Mahmoud Vaezi, Minister of Communications said that Iranians are all responsible for inappropriate contents on the web, and It’s not only the government’s responsibility to work on this issue but it’s people’s too. Vaezi believes that internet has good and bad aspects, but it’s the people who would decide how use the content. “In all societies in the world we have good and bad things, so we can’t say we should only have the good things on the web. We have to increase the public awareness to solve this issue,” said Vaezi on the second National Conference on Clean Cyberspace.

Vaezi also compared the physical world with the digital world and said that the society should make its way into digital world in every aspect that it can. He also mentioned that the government should work on the educational system to teach the related subjects on cyberspace. “If we want to censor a website for only 10 to 15 percent explicit materials we would encounter problems,” Vaezi added. In the past few years, government has been trying to work on the cultural side instead of limiting people’s access to the internet. So we can hope by developing the culture, we would have more free internet, and enough suitable content for people to pay less attention to explicit materials. But at the end, it doesn’t mean that the government would stop its “Smart Filtering” or in other word “Smart Censorship”.

Right now Smart Filtering is on its third phase which means the government would move its censorship from the country’s main internet gateway to ISPs and universities. This process has been started since a week ago. By implementing this method internet speed would improve, and on the other hand the censorship would depend on the users (such as university and public users).

Internet Free of Charge

There were also some talks on free internet in the second National Conference on Clean Cyberspac. Secretary of the Supreme Council of Cyberspace said that in Iran people still pay for internet based on the data usage. “This is an old way of calculating internet costs and other countries are providing internet for their people nearly free of charge,” said Abolhassan Firouzabadi. Firouzabadi also stated that the bandwidth capacity on cellular networks is limited, so the amount of data that is being transferred is important. But in Fiber Optic networks the amount of data that has been transferred does not matter. “We had good initiatives in the past few months for starting National Information Network, but we should have started it sooner and I hope we accelerate the development even faster,” added Firouzabadi.

Overall, the government is putting more energy on improving internet access and internet penetration, we hope to see these initiatives turn into reality very soon.

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