Censorship & Lobbying

A young women wearing a bikini - Malibu Beach (July 31, 2006)

A young women wearing a bikini at the beach. Most people in the West don't object to images of subtle sexuality. However, in strict Muslim countries this image may be deemed inappropriate and never published. This is ridiculous because we're living in the digital age. An unfiltered image search engine often displays the most offensive search results.

:: Censorship
Our policy is not to display graphic content or be overtly political in our editorial approach. It's best to use finesse and tact and avoid controversy. Therefore, we have always had self-censorship. There is no internet police and each website sets its own policy. However, we follow the guidlines for internet etiquette, also known as 'Netiquette'. You may see images of public executions in other Iranian portals. But we have chosen not to display images of gore and violence in the website because it may disturb our viewers. Furthermore, we try to make our point without profanity and foul language. Besides, indecent language could hurt our search engine results. Our media directory includes websites like Salon, Vanity Fair, Vogue and the Guardian. These websites may have occasional language or nudity but are still considered as mainstream liberal. Unfortunately, for various reasons we cannot follow their style but may link to their articles. For now, this is a good compromise because we are not responsible for external links.

We're not silent on important issues despite being overtly political. We have devoted pages to Human Rights, Women's Rights, Democracy, and Civil Society. We have done more than the minimum on these subjects and it's mostly based on Western values. The Iranian government also believes in the same key words but sees everything in the Islamic context. This is a "huge debate" and beyond our scope of work. After all, my academic background is in engineering & management and not liberal arts. As a policy, we try to keep religious & political content to a minimum because it's risky and unpopular. Promoting LGBT rights and Baha'ism are totally out of the question. The Iranian courts have charged many internet users with "propaganda against the state and spreading of lies". This is one the reasons that we neither have a forum nor blogs in this website. Keep in mind that there is no board or committee here. One person makes the policy decisions and it's always final.

:: Lobbying
Persian supremacists, monarchists, political activists, Iranian-American organizations and religious groups have actively lobbied in order to make important changes in the website. So far, we have neither heard from the People's Mojahedin organization nor from Islamic fundamentalists. We only have a responsibility towards our regular visitors. Their suggestions have been incorporated in the website. Again, we set our own policy and red lines regardless of pressure from U.S. government or special interest groups. Finally, we are not a position to demand anything from the Iranian government. You can contact them directly if you wish.

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