Small Media Foundation Small media news feed Filterwatch // Episode One CreditsMusic by LongzijunProducer: Mo HoseiniHost: Kyle BowenGuest: Amin SabetiEditorial Advisor: James MarchantDesign: Isabel Beard Feb. 8, 2016, 12:53 p.m. Launch Event // Economic Participation and Human Rights in Iran On 21 January 2016 we launched two major reports on human rights and digital activism in Iran in Washington D.C., in partnership with IREX.National Fabric: Iran’s Ethnic Minorities tells the story of Iran's ethnic minority digital activists as they work to preserve the languages and cultures that have until now been excluded excluded from Iran's rich cultural tapestry.Small Media's Research Manager James Marchant presented the major findings of the report, and described a number of innovative digital campaigns created by Iran's marginalised ethnic minority communities, including Kurdish e-publishing platforms, Azeri Instagram-based language ... Feb. 5, 2016, 4:59 p.m. #IranVotes // An Introduction On February 26, citizens in the Islamic Republic of Iran will have the opportunity to cast a vote for the first time since the 2013 presidential elections that swept Hassan Rouhani into office.Since then, the Rouhani administration has been locked in a seemingly never-ending battle with the most hardline elements of the political establishment over issues ranging from foreign policy, through to cultural censorship and information controls.Some of the noisiest criticisms of the Rouhani administration in the last few years have come from Iran’s Parliament. The last parliamentary elections in 2012 were notable for a large-scale reformist ... Feb. 4, 2016, 12:56 p.m. Introducing Filterwatch Credits Music by LongzijunProducer: Mo HoseiniHost: Kyle Bowen Senior Research Advisor: Amin SabetiEditorial Advisor: James Marchant Design: Richard Kahwagi and Isabel Beard Feb. 3, 2016, 12:41 p.m. IIIP // December 2015 Iranian Internet Infrastructure and Policy ReportDecember 2015IntroductionWhile the Iranian new year is still a couple months away, here in London we’re already two weeks into 2016. We thought this was a good time to think about what the new year might bring for Iranian internet users. Below we’ve made a number of predictions about what Iranian internet and censorship policy will look like in 2016.The Iranian Internet in 2016: What’s next?In the first section, we revisit three of the predictions we made in our February 2015 Rouhani Review report. We’ll evaluate each prediction and ... Jan. 26, 2016, 10:57 a.m. IIIP // November 2015 Introduction This month’s feature takes another look at the meteoric rise of messaging apps in Iran, and particularly at the runaway success of Telegram. While hardliners continue to rant and rave about its uses as a vehicle for ‘immoral’ content and pornography, more moderate members of the Iranian political and media establishments appear to be looking increasingly to Telegram as a vehicle for getting state-approved content to its massive user base. We explore these tensions in more depth below. Also this month, we can share the latest updates about the development of the National Internet, hear about the announcement ... Dec. 17, 2015, 12:08 p.m. Rewiring Iran’s Supreme Council of Cyberspace A few weeks ago, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran (ICHRI) published a fascinating article on personnel changes that might impact internet policy in the country. The piece focuses on Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei’s recent announcement that authority over Internet policy in Iran will be concentrated in the Supreme Council of Cyberspace (SCC), a body created by the Supreme Leader back in 2012. Iranian internet policy is an issue near and dear to Small Media’s heart, so we decided to probe this issue a bit further. Drawing on some of our own research into the SCC ... Dec. 2, 2015, 4:34 p.m. IIIP // October 2015 IntroductionIn late October, controversy erupted when Telegram’s Russian founder Pavel Durov claimed that Iran’s ICT Ministry had requested “spying and censorship tools” from the company. When Durov refused, Telegram was blocked in Iran. As this episode demonstrates, the Iranian government has minimal control over foreign social media companies. Yet the government may have an easier time when it comes to domestic platforms. In this month’s report, we take a look at the terms and conditions that Iranian social networks require users to agree to, and how they relate to Iranian media law. We’ll also cover the ... Nov. 15, 2015, 1:57 p.m. IIIP // September 2015 IntroductionIn this month’s report, we’ll tease apart the recently announced reforms to Iran’s top internet policy-making body, the Supreme Council of Cyberspace (SCC). Has the body’s expansion handed more power to the Supreme Leader? Or is Rouhani’s government still calling the shots?Also this month, we can see some signs of growing foreign interest in Iran’s tech and communications sectors as we enter the post-sanctions era. Will the trend continue? Tech problems and outages continue to afflict a number of foreign services operating in Iran, and despite its slow progress the government is insisting ... Oct. 15, 2015, 3:35 p.m. What Help Do Human Rights Defenders Need in the Levant? In our previous post we spoke a little bit about what we’re doing to support human rights advocates working under very difficult conditions in the Levant, introducing our new project to support the media and strategic communications needs of human rights organisations and civil society organisations working in Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan.This week we’ll provide a few insights into the initial findings of our survey, and highlight some of the most urgent requirements for regional human rights defenders.The results are in!We’re very excited to introduce some results from the first phase of our needs ... Sept. 30, 2015, 11:45 a.m. IIIP // August 2015 IntroductionLast month’s report introduced Filtershekanha, a bi-weekly mailing list distributing information about the latest circumvention tools. This month, we again made use of the the service’s mailing list, this time to distribute a survey gauging Iranian attitudes to online privacy. In addition to unpacking the results of the survey, we’ve got a roundup of all the latest ICT - related statements from politicians and policy makers. Highlights this month include: the ongoing fight between Rouhani’s ICT Ministry and a telecommunications company managed by the Revolutionary Guard, ICT Minister Mahmoud Vaezi’s take on banned social media, and ... Sept. 15, 2015, 5:54 p.m. Introduction // Supercharging Human Rights Advocates in the Levant We’re excited to announce the start of a brand new research project from the Small Media team — our first in the Arab world. This new work takes us to the Levant — Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan — where we’re working to assess the media and strategic communications needs of regional human rights organisations (HROs) and civil society organisations (CSOs).As a result of the ongoing crisis in Syria, and its knock-on effects across the region, local HROs and CSOs are more in need of support, training and development than ever before, in order to effectively advocate for human rights and ... Sept. 9, 2015, 11:27 a.m. IIIP // July 2015 IntroductionIran’s pervasive internet filtering system makes circumvention tools necessary for many run-of-the-mill online activities, such as posting a status update on Facebook or uploading a picture to Instagram. This requirement can make using the internet in Iran a persistent and frustrating challenge. Luckily for Iranian netizens, there are resources available to help them gain access to blocked sites. In what follows, we’ll examine one such resource. This month’s report looks at Filtershekanha, a mailing list which sends its subscribers biweekly updates on the latest circumvention tools and provides instructions about how to download the required software. Through ... Aug. 15, 2015, 1:08 p.m. IIIP // June 2015 IntroductionThis month’s report looks at Iran’s presentation at the recent WSIS forum, a UN-sponsored event which forms part of the preparatory process ahead of the World Summit on the Information Society’s (WSIS) 10th anniversary review. In particular, we focus on a presentation by the Iranian delegation entitled “ethical dimensions of the Information Society” because it outlines Iran’s position on three seminal internet-related issues: anonymity, privacy, and freedom of information. We’ll take a look at what Iran’s delegation said about each of these topics, and offer some analysis regarding what their statements might mean. We ... July 15, 2015, 1:21 p.m. IIIP // May 2015 IntroductionThis month’s report takes a look at Samandehi, the official registry for Iranian websites. All websites are required by law to register with Samandehi’s database, but is this law strictly enforced? To find out, we tested some of Iran’s most popular websites, as well as several state-affiliated pages. In short, our findings suggest that while many private websites register with Samandehi, the government tends to turn a blind eye when regime-friendly websites skirt the registration requirement.We’ve also rounded up some of the top tweets containing the filternet hashtag, along with statements from ICT policymakers including ... June 15, 2015, 1:46 p.m.