Iran is launching Mehr (meaning “affection”), an alternative to YouTube which the theocracy declared “inappropriate” in 2009.
The site is meant to attract Persian-speaking users and Pro-Iranian content.
“From now on, people can upload their short films on the website and access (IRIB) produced material,” said IRIB deputy chief Lotfollah Siahkali.
Iran has a habit of blocking its population from accessing certain Western sites. Earlier this year, it blocked access to Gmail and Google search, while an “Iranternet” — its own internal internet — has supposedly been in the works for some time now. Iranian government officials do however say that the outside web won’t be cut off entirely.
After the disputed presidential election in 2009, the government tightened its grip on the web and earned the title of the biggest enemy of internet freedom by blocking access to networks like Facebook and websites which express anti-government sentiment, which means that citizens who want to access the full web need to do so using virtual private networks.
Police are reportedly cracking down on such users, who currently make up somewhere between 20 and 30% of the country’s online population, as authorities deem this method of getting online illegal.