Iran has reportedly decided to create its own version of YouTube in order to detract from what it deems to be inappropriate content posted on the popular video-sharing network.
Mehr.ir, AFP reports, will operate similarly to YouTube, with users allowed to upload their own videos, as well as access content produced by national broadcaster, Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB).
The site is said to be directed at Persian-speaking users and aimed at promoting Iranian culture.
YouTube has been banned three times since 2006 in Iran due to content deemed inappropriate by the Islamic government. The most recent ban followed the posting of a 14-minute clip from anti-Islamic film Innocence of Muslims, which YouTube refused to take down, though access was temporarily blocked in Egypt and Libya, where violent anti-US protests took place.
Services from Google, such as search and Gmail, were also blocked in response to the YouTube clip, though this was partially lifted following complaints from Iranian officials. Other prominent sites such as Facebook and The New York Times have also been blocked.
It is expected that Iran will launch its own domestic intranet by March 2014, claiming this will improve cyber security in response to 2010’s Stuxnet attack. Others claim this is a way to control the information Iranians can access online, though it has been said that access to the global internet will not be cut off completely.
For the time being, Iranian citizens are said to bypass the censorship by using virtual private network (VPN) software, however, this technology is illegal in Iran.
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