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

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in pubic More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies 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.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid