A group of Iranian students gathered in front of the International Telecommunications Union in Geneva on Monday to call for action against Iranian government policies that limit access to media.
The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran reports that the United Nations’ World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC) began on Monday in Geneva.
The protesters called for an end to censorship and the Islamic Republic’s practice of blocking of satellite networks.
The Islamic Republic has referred to non-governmental satellite channels as the “the intelligence services of the country’s enemies.” In addition to blocking satellite signals, the government confiscates all satellite dishes from people’s homes and arrests citizens who collaborate with these networks in any way.
Iranian Nobel Peace laureate Shirin Ebadi has criticized satellite networks for allowing the Islamic Republic government to relay its own programs around the world, while Iran is unmatched in jamming satellite signals within its own borders.
The protesters called on the members of the International Telelcommunications Union to use every legal means to stop the blocking of Persian-language satellite programs and the widespread internet censorship, including the Iranian government’s plan to establish a national internet or “Halal internet.”
Although rights activists have been concerned that the so called “national internet” would further restrict Iranians’ access to the worldwide web, last week the Iranian Minister of Telecommunications announced that the “national internet” will not replace the conventional internet and that users will have access to both.
The WRC has met every two to four years since 1995, attracting representatives from all the UN member states.
An Iranian delegation headed by the deputy telecommunications minister Mohammad Karampour is participating in this year’s gathering.