Iran Unveils YouTube-like Service as Web Isolation Grows

(Ping! Zine Web Tech Magazine) –Iran is increasingly controlling what online content citizens can access – and this week, the country took yet another step towards tightening its grip over web access in the isolated nation state.

According to a report by the AFP, the Islamic Republic recently launched ‘Mehr’, a YouTube-like website for sharing video content specific to the region.

YouTube, owned by Google has faced censorship in the country, especially following an outbreak of violence directed toward amateur film Innocence of Muslims.

“From now on, people can upload their short films on the website and access (IRIB) produced material,” commented Lotfollah Siahkali, a deputy chief at IRIB, Iran’s media broadcasting company.

A prominent reason for Iran’s increasing Internet control has been the reaction to viruses including Stuxnet and Flame, both thought to be launched by the U.S. and Israel, according to a previous New York Times report. In October, the country temporarily blocked Google service Gmail. However, it was later restored.