x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Internet regulator bans violent protest videos

Access to videos of protests in Iran, including one of a female student who was shot and killed, have been blocked on the orders of the internet regulator.

A video of Neda Agha Soltan's death during the protests in Tehran is widely widely circulated on internet.
A video of Neda Agha Soltan's death during the protests in Tehran is widely widely circulated on internet.

DUBAI // Access to videos of protests in Iran, including one of a female student who was shot and killed, have been blocked on the orders of the internet regulator. The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) has instructed Etisalat and du to block videos on the internet from the Iranian demonstrations as they breach contractual agreements by depicting extreme violence.

"We told du and Etisalat to block certain videos from the demonstrations from Iran because they breached the agreement we have with du and Etisalat," said an official from the TRA. Videos of the grisly death of Neda Agha Soltan, an Iranian student who was shot during the protests, have now been banned in the UAE.

The video, which has received more than 118,000 hits on YouTube since it was posted on Saturday, shows the 27-year-old, an innocent bystander at a protest, lying on the ground after being shot in the heart, her eyes rolled back, as blood flows from her nose and mouth The 40-second clip has been referred to by news agencies around the world as an example of the atrocities taking place in Iran. The US president, Barack Obama, called the clip "heart-breaking".

Parsa, an Iranian opposition supporter based in Dubai, said: "I think it is ridiculous and so wrong that these videos are now banned. It is depriving people of the information of what is going on in Iran." Amir, another Iranian based in Dubai, said: "It is not pornographic, it is not explicit, and there are more graphic videos on YouTube than these ones. It doesn't make sense, and it is extremely frustrating.

"People all over the world have a right to know what is happening, and there is a huge Iranian community here, around 400,000, who also want to know." @Email:nsamaha@thenational.ae shafez@thenational.ae