The purpose of this paper is to investigate the effect of internet filtering, and its impact on marginalized groups including non‐governmental organizations, female activists, ethnic, and religious minorities, the younger generation and the increase of the digital divide in Iran.
The paper raises two main questions: to what extent do information and communications technologies (ICTs) and in particular, the internet, promote freedom of speech, and gender equality in Iran? What is the impact of state censorship and ICT filtering on these activities? To answer these research questions, the author uses narratives of the internet's usage along with a comparison study with other Middle Eastern countries to analyze the impact of ICTs on citizen's freedom of expression.
The paper argues that restrictions imposed on ICT tools and services by the Government of Iran which has been claimed to protect country's national security against the corruption and immorality imposed by Western countries not only affect the expansion of ICTs negatively but also civil liberties – thus increasing the digital divide internally, regionally, as well as on a global scale.
Albeit this research is limited to the case study of Iran, the author believes that lessens learned from the Iran's case study can be applied to other Islamic countries and in particular countries located in the Middle East region.
ICT tools and services such as the internet and short message service are effective emancipatory media for citizens' participation and mobilization in democratic processes.
This paper contributes to the existing knowledge and understanding of the impact of ICTs on freedom and democracy.
Shirazi, F. (2010), "The emancipatory role of information and communication technology: A case study of internet content filtering within Iran", Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society, Vol. 8 No. 1, pp. 57-84. https://doi.org/10.1108/14779961011024819Download as .RIS
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