Media in Iran’s Kurdistan
Radio and Television:
The basis of all mass media activities in Kurdistan is about the promotion and propagating the Shiite religion and all matters regarding the religious rule. There are no none-governmental independent media in Iran’s Kurdistan. In order to control the public opinion and keep a closed society, owning a satellite dish is prohibited, and in 2012, as previous years, 95% of satellite dishes were confiscated all over the Kurdistan by security forces. Government authorities raid peoples’ houses illegally. If the residents block their entrance to the dwelling, they would be beaten and assaulted. On many occasions, the authorities climb the walls and take away their satellite dishes without citizen’s knowledge. In February 2012, a large number of constabulary officers visited streets house by house and threaten the people that if they do not destroy the dishes themselves,
the officers would enter the houses and confiscate their receivers as well. At the end of the day, the officers imposed this action by force.
The local television channels in the capitals of the provinces are part of the huge Islamic Republic Radio-Television Centre (SEDA VA SIMA). The selection of the managers and directors and their policies are done under the direct supervision of Khamenei exclusively.
The newspapers and publications:
Most Kurdish journals and publications or publications to do with affairs of Kurdistan are seized after publishing a few issues; the writers are arrested and sentenced. There has always been pressure on the media in Kurdistan and it has increased even more in 2012. Below are some clear examples of suppressions of the mass media by the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance in Iran’s Kurdistan.
The Journalists and Weblog Writers:
It has been described that journalism in Kurdistan is very much like walking through a minefield. All Kurdish journalists, weblog writers and reporters, before or after the seizure of their newspapers, journals, publications or websites have been sent to prisons. According to the reports of the Reporters Without Borders, since the past year, more than 10 journalists are still in prison. A number of them have been arrested and many have had to leave the country.
Mohammad Saleh Nikbakht, one of Kurdish citizens, resident of Tehran, who is a member of the Trade Union of Journalist, and also the solicitor for many Kurdish arrested journalists, and he himself is arrested and is in prison for some time now. He has announced that the reason for their arrests and the closure of the Kurdish newspapers and journals is merely because they are Kurds and all charges are baseless. Therefore, the Islamic Republic of Iran has taken all steps to curtail and imprison all Kurdish reporters and journalist and has achieved its aims. Further, known activists such as Adnan Hassanpour, who was awarded the Press Freedom prize from Reporters Without Borders in 2007, is at present imprisoned in Sanandaj. His friend and his cousin, Hiva Bootima, who is an environmental activist, was arrested in December 2006. After spending many months in prison, both of them, were sentenced to death by execution in June 2007. These sentences were later commuted to 16 years and 8 years imprisonment respectively.
Control of internet cafes and internet users in Kurdistan cities:
Internet cafes in the city of Marivan are obliged to install close circuit televisions and register the particulars of the users.
On 24 December 2012, police officers have approached internet cafes in Marivan and have declared that they are obliged to install CCTV cameras and ought to register the particulars of the of the internet users.
They have asked the management of internet cafes to note down the postcode and National Identity Card number of the users and register them (5).
All internet cafes in Sanandaj are required to install CCTV cameras in their shops.
Office of Public Locations (AMAKEN OFFICE) of Sanandaj city has informed all internet cafes that they must install CCTV’s in their shops.
Further, the cafe net owners in Sanandaj have been ordered by AMAKEN OFFICE to install a particular application, namely GAST, on their computer systems. As well as performing the task of filtering websites, this software can control the time and type of use of the customers more easily (3).
Internet Cafes shall become equipped with CCTV’s in Western Azerbaijan. The Cyber Space and Communication of Data Police of the Western Azerbaijan Police Headquarters has informed that all internet cafes in Western Azerbaijan are equipped with CCTV cameras, in order to record the faces of the culprits at the time of committing the offence.
Reporters Without Borders again condemns Iran’s increasing censorship of the Internet, this time its censorship of mobile apps in particular.
Komala Party of Iranian Kurdistan