Iran Arrests Fashion Models, Blog Manager in Social Media Crackdown
Tehran’s Supreme Leader declares War against ‘un-Islamic thoughts’ on the Internet
Iran has launched a new crackdown on social media, arresting fashion models active on photo-sharing websites and a blog website manager after Tehran’s top leader declared War on un-Islamic thoughts on the Internet.
Eight members of a modelling network were arrested and accused of publishing photos of women without the obligatory hijab headscarf on the picture-sharing application Instagram, Tasnim news agency said Sunday.
State television also broadcast live “confessions” of a model who explained she posted photos of herself on Instagram wearing certain clothes or beauty products to earn money through advertisements.
The semi-official student news agency ISNA also reported on Monday the arrest of Mehdi Butorabi, 53 anni, the manager of the popular Persian Blog launched in Y 2001 as the Iranian equivalent of the Blogger weblog publishing tool.
It provided a vibrant, diverse platform for thousands of young Iranians to express their thoughts.
The Center for Investigation of Organised Crime, a branch of the elite Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), monitors social media to hunt for evidence of immorality or subversion.
Iran blocks access to Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), Twitter (NYSE:TWTR), and YouTube but millions of Iranians easily get around that by using virtual private networks (VPNs).
However, that does not make them immune from state surveillance.
Last year, 3 men and 3 women who posted a video of themselves singing and dancing along with a Western pop song were arrested.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Saturday the Internet was promoting un-Islamic thoughts that should be promptly dealt with.
“This is a real battlefield. The clerics and seminary students should prepare to enter this field and fight against deviations and erroneous thoughts,” Khamenei was quoted as saying.