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The Ministry of Communications is not responsible, but gives an “answer”.

On Monday, November 30, mobile internet was unavailable for several hours, leaving users alone with the National Information Network. This happens to some cities more often and they experience more severe restrictions. The ministry, which has said many times before, has no “responsibility” in this regard, and the “competent authorities” should make a diagnosis. But he does not forget to publish “answers” in response to media reports and news. Answers in which the media are accused of “media immorality”, being “unfair”, “accusing”, “discouraging experts” and publishing false information. A part of the answers written in the last two months and after the tightening of the restrictions is available on the website of the ministry.

In these two months, the Ministry of Communications has repeatedly accused the media of “accusing”, “media immorality”, “being unfair” and publishing false information.

The last one is a response to the Hamdali newspaper’s report titled “Breadnought Women Victims of Filtering” on November 18. The Ministry of Communications, referring to the sentence “There is no clear picture of the future of these messengers and social networks, and the recent statements of the officials indicate that the filtering of these social networks will no longer be removed.” He reminded that the restriction of these two platforms and some other services is based on the decision of “competent security authorities” and the ministry is not responsible for these decisions. Although “some restricted services have also been removed with the follow-up of this ministry and the assistance of relevant authorities.” He further said that if the “materials” change and the same authorities decide to remove the restrictions, the Ministry of Communications will remove the blocking. He considered and denied the “complete disconnection of the Internet” and “the disconnection of all communications with other countries” as a result of the author’s mental image and reminded that the widespread and complete disconnection of the Internet was something that happened in 2018. Finally, regarding the resolution to support digital economy businesses, he said that “contrary to what this report is trying to induce, the way to resume business activities based on domestic platforms is open.”

A few days before this date, on November 12, he also published a column in response to the coverage of Shargh newspaper about Iranian Starlink. In the report “Iranian Starlink, another advertising promise”, the reporter, after talking about the promises of the head of the space organization, came to the conclusion that in Iran, the most use of space technology is the use of advertising and national pride. The ministry’s response started by blaming the past governments in the space field and says that the 13th government has accelerated the development of the country’s space industry. According to the ministry, this report is “nothing but media immorality” and has no result other than “discouraging the elites and space scientists of the country”. The answer ended like this: “The country’s space sector needs all-round media, financial, spiritual, etc. support, rather than questioning the country’s entire space activities and programs by publishing false and biased reports.” And he said this is against the national interests.

On the same day, November 12th, the newspaper Dunya Ekhtosan published a report called “Business support or native platform?” published in which, by examining some clauses of the plan to support digital economy businesses, it comes to the conclusion that the main benefit of this plan is the support for native platforms and broadcasting. The Ministry of Communications considered the headline of this article to be biased and said that “by focusing on the details of this plan and away from political tendencies”, it is clear that the provisions of this plan are both for the support of domestic platforms and the benefit of business owners and their customers. However, it has confirmed that overnight, similar conditions will not be provided to businesses operating on blocked foreign platforms in domestic platforms. Therefore, in order to attract customers, it has considered advertising packages on platforms such as national media.

In response to the protest against the restrictions, the ministry reminds the national information network and support for businesses on domestic platforms.

The ministry considered the Khorasan newspaper’s news report titled “Internet slowness in the parliament” on November 10 as “media immorality” and also as a “false report”. After reviewing the meeting of the Minister of Communications and the members of the Industries and Mines Commission and interviewing the representatives, Khorasan wrote that a number of the representatives were not satisfied with the minister’s answers to questions that are mainly related to internet problems, including speed, and demanded that it be reviewed in the floor. It is stated in the answer that no question was asked about the speed of the internet on this day and the questions were about the national information network and access to the internet in the villages of the representatives. In addition, in three sections, it has given explanations about the national information network, internet speed and support for internal platforms. In this answer, he emphasized that the ministry is not the decision-making authority regarding blocking.

The ministry also responded to the reports and contents of the newspapers in the month of Mehr. On the 26th of Mehr, Shargh newspaper published an article in the policy column that started like this: “In response to agriculture, which is unable to sell its products with Instagram filtering, the Deputy Minister of Communications said: You should not have used a tool like Instagram from the beginning.” He also mentioned the various reactions of the government and fundamentalists regarding the Internet and said that some people do not mind Iran becoming the second North Korea. In this response, Public Relations said that Sharq incompletely conveyed Mahmoud Liai’s words and denied assigning the phrase “Iranians have high expectations” to Isa Zarepour. Regarding these famous statements that “there is no limit except for two American messengers”, he said that it was said on 16 Mehr and according to the conditions of that day, and its citation is incorrect and probably due to lack of knowledge. Finally, he asked why, despite plans such as 20 million optical fibers, you accuse Iran of becoming North Korea.

In the answers, recalling Aban 2018, it is emphasized that this time only temporary restrictions were applied and the national information network was not disrupted.

On the 26th of Mehr, Jomohri-e-Islami newspaper also wrote an article to which the ministry responded. This note was written by Seyyed Zia Mortazavi under the name of “National Internet, Hesr General”. Criticizing those who called the national information network or the national internet obligatory, he said that the main problem of this group is that instead of correcting their thoughts, methods and behaviors, they see the origin of deep-rooted problems beyond the borders and find the way out in closing and limiting them. They know how to build communication tools and internet and virtual networks. He considered the national internet or security plan to be the same as the general confinement of a nation. The answer starts with the fact that we don’t have a national internet, but it is a national information network and accuses the writer of the note of accusing the experts of the country. He goes on to say how many villages are connected to a stable and high-quality communication network, and referring to November 2018, he says that this time there was no nationwide internet outage and only temporary restrictions were applied and domestic businesses “without a moment’s interruption with high-speed and secure access to the national network” “Information has been active and fortunately they have not faced any disruption.”

A response to the report of the world of economics under the title “Certain SMS; A new limit for the digital economy” on 24 Mehr is the only answer that started thanks to the author’s concern about the problems of businesses. It is further said that the Ministry of Communications has followed up on this problem and this restriction has ended and “the only restriction is related to the systems that have already been violated and have been restricted according to the opinion of the judicial authorities.” He also emphasized that this sentence from Zarepour: “In general, a platform that does not recognize the laws of the Islamic Republic is not a suitable platform for businesses.” It is related to the 16th of Mehr and is based on the conditions of that day, and “mentioning it in the current time without mentioning the changes that have occurred, leads the audience astray.”

The ministry also considered a part of the report of Khorasan newspaper on 17th of Mehr called “The wandering of internet businesses” to be strange and unfair. This newspaper called the minister’s words “contradictory and ambiguous” in the lead article. Joabiye pointed to the minister’s various comments about the restriction of two foreign platforms and referring to the decision of the security authorities and concluded that the minister’s words were not contradictory or ambiguous. He further expressed his happiness that “all domestic services are being carried out on the platform of the National Information Network and no domestic services have been disrupted” and the restrictions of some hours at the international level have been removed and “the only restriction is for the two mentioned platforms.” whose decision-makers are also “competent authorities”.

Answers are based on denial and promotion of plans that have been done. Neither the users nor the media consider these plans to be sufficient. The demands are bigger than a few support schemes. By ignoring the demands for high-speed, free and high-quality internet, the ministry wants to convince the media about the internet as it is and the plans that have been approved, but by constantly emphasizing that it is not responsible for the tightening of restrictions, it dilutes its position and role. It makes it ineffective.


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