Watching videos of cats on YouTube when you should be doing other things may be a part of your daily routine, but in some regions of the world, that isn’t possible. As many of you know, countries like Iran like to ban popular websites like YouTube and Facebook for varying reasons, leaving their citizens without access to the aforementioned cat videos. Today, however, Iranians are getting a video streaming site of their own, but don’t expect it to be as open as YouTube is.
That’s because this website, www.mehr.ir, will focus on promoting Islam and Iranian culture. We don’t know how heavily it will be moderated, but you can bet that at least some moderation will going down. After all, it’s hard to imagine that the government will allow any kind of video up on the site, otherwise there wouldn’t be much of a reason to ban YouTube.
It isn’t all that surprising to see a site like this go live, as Iran has been censoring the Internet for quite a while now. YouTube has been censored for a number of years, but web filters don’t always stop Iranians from viewing the banned websites. Apparently the hope here is that people will just visit Mehr, which is headed up by the state-run Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, instead of bypassing the filters to hop on YouTube.
We shall see how this all works out, but one encouraging thing is that users are invited to upload their own material, which is a step in the right direction. The IPIB will also be uploading content of its own, so it looks like the organization will have a big role in maintaining (and perhaps moderating) the website.
[via The Telegraph]