News / Middle East

Iran Plans to Create Domestic Internet Search Engine

Iran is vowing to replace Western internet search engines with its own homegrown version, amid complaints from the country's supreme leader that the net is being used to corrupt Iranian youth.

During the weekend, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad praised the development and expansion of the internet inside his country, amid signs his government is working to increase control over Iranians' access to the world-wide web.

He says Iran must start the process of developing its own indigenous knowledge base, and use this as a way to share resources and information. Then, he adds, Iran can expand the network to neighboring states, becoming a global player and providing information on the global stage.

Iranian TV spoke with information technology experts, who demonstrated the prototype of Iran's own internet search-engine, dubbed "ya haq", or "the truth", in an apparent play on words with the U.S. search engine Yahoo. The new site is expected to be fully operational by 2012.

The director of Iran's government-run technology company, Hadi Malek-Parast, took President Ahmadinejad's thoughts a step further, telling Iran's Mehr news agency that his researchers are working to "develop a local intranet, rather than an internet, to give access only to official or approved websites."

Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei condemned the West for allegedly trying to "manipulate" Iranian youth in a recent speech, portions of which are rebroadcast on Iranian TV every day:

He says that Iran's enemies have set their sights on young people and they are trying to manipulate them and force them to stray from what he calls the "right" path.

Internet experts say Iran is increasingly worried that new, secure forms of Yahoo, Google and other top internet websites are providing young people with a free flow of information the government can no longer control.

Analyst Meir Javedanfar, of the MEEPAS Center in Tel Aviv, believes Iran is trying to re-exert control over its domestic internet, rather than to simply block Google or Yahoo:

"It is about control. I do not think the Iranian regime is going to stop Yahoo and Google from functioning as search engines, because it needs [them] for its own research purposes and for Iranian businesses, which are operated by the government," said Javedanfar. "What the Iranian government is trying to do is to take away their share of the search engine market and to bring the Iranian user to the site that it wants [him] to see."

Iranian-born analyst Alex Vatanka of the Middle East Institute in Washington says government censorship of the press is something that dates back to the start of the Islamic Republic, but that it has gotten worse recently, especially after last year's controversial presidential election:

"They see the free flow of information to young people in Iran as probably one of the biggest dangers facing the country," said Vatanka. "They look at how the young are technologically savvy, literate, and interested. There is this thirst for information, for debate, and the Khameneis and Ahmadinejads of this world are trying to choke the flow of information."

But Vatanka says the Iranian people are too intellectually sophisticated for the government's tactics to work. "I see a Chinese model of government control over the internet prevailing," he insists, not a thoroughly sealed North Korean model.

You May Like

Conflicts Engulf Christians in Mideast

Research finds an increase in faith-based hostilities, and Christians are facing persecution in a growing number of countries in the region More

Chinese Americans: Don’t Call Us 'Model Minority'

Label points to collective achievement, but some say it triggers resentment, unrealistic expectations More

Iran Bolsters Surveillance of Phones, Internet

Does increased monitoring suggest the government is nervous? More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Polish Ghetto

When the Nazi army moved into the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid