Several sources, including dozens of Iranian journalists reported Internet connection shutdowns and interruptions across the country amid protests in several major cities against the government’s decision to cut electricity and water supply. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the Journalists Union of Iran urge the Iranian authorities to restore internet access.
According to Netblocks, which monitors internet restrictions globally, mobile phone internet services in Iran are being disrupted in some cities a week into protests in the country’s southwest over water and electricity shortages.The effects represent “a near-total internet shutdown that is likely to limit the public’s ability to express political discontent or communicate with each other and the outside world,” NetBlocks said.
Fifty-five journalists signed a statement condemning the Iranian government’s block of internet access, claiming that “after turning off the media, the authorities have disrupted the internet in Khuzestan, this time blocking people’s narratives of Khuzestan’s dark days.”The statement also called for an end to violence against the people of Khuzestan and all Iranians who showed public support to the protests.
In parallel, Iranian lawmakers have put on the agenda a plan to limit social media platforms and messaging apps, which is expected to be approved by the Iranian parliament soon.
“The plan of some members of the Islamic Consultative Assembly called the plan to protect the rights of users in cyberspace is contrary to the legal rights of journalists and the media, as well as the rights of the nation and the needs of today’s society,” the National Association of Journalists said.The union referred to the bill as a serious attempt to restrict the right of access to information and hinder journalists’ professional activities.
IFJ General Secretary, Anthony Bellanger, said: “The IFJ strongly condemns the Iranian authorities for shutting down the internet and violating the citizens’ right to free access to information. We support the Journalists Union of Iran’s demands to restore internet access and their opposition to the legislation that threatens journalists’ and people’s freedom of expression.“