Iran launches YouTube-like video-sharing site

Iran has unveiled a video-sharing website for Persian speakers that could be part of its larger plan to build a national intranet separate from the World Wide Web.

Newswire AFP reported on Sunday that the website, which is called “Mehr,” which means affection in Farsi, targets Persian-speaking users around the world and aims to promote Iranian culture.

The Iranian video-sharing site Mehr
Iranian video sharing site Mehr (source: mehr.ir)

AFP said the website competes with Google’s YouTube, whose content the Iranian regime calls inappropriate. PCMag reported that Mehr only shows government-approved videos.

About Mehr, Lotfollah Siahkali, Deputy Head of Broadcasting of the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRIB), said: “Now people can upload their short films to the website and access [IRIB] material produced. »

The report notes that Iran has systematically censored YouTube since mid-2009. The country has shut down access to several foreign internets as it tries to set up a national intranet. In September, it cut off access to
Google search and messaging services

which was supposed to be in retaliation for the internet giant hosting an anti-Islamic video on YouTube.

The government took its e-government services offline in early August to protect against cyberattacks. It planned to transfer its e-government services to its national intranet, but experts said such a move was
“cunning”

as this will limit accessibility to these services for citizens.

Shirley K. Rosa