Supporting Internet Freedom
Fig. 1. Courtesy of CIMA, 2014.

The Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA) at the National Endowment for Democracy released its report titled Supporting Internet Freedom: The Case of Iran written by Sherry Ricchiardi, which "looks at the rapidly changing landscape for technology and the dichotomy for free expression in the country."

From the report's introduction:

During his run for the presidency of Iran, Hassan Rouhani made a bold promise. If he won, he would push for greater Internet freedom in a country where citizens risk imprisonment and torture for what they post online.


When Rouhani won a surprise victory in June 2013, optimism swept the Iranian blogosphere. In a post-election speech, he declared, “The age of monologue media is over; media should be interactive ... in a country whose legitimacy is rooted in its people, then there is no fear from free media.” He described social networking as a “welcome phenomenon,” a far cry from Tehran’s official line. For netizens, his words signaled relief from cyber spies and persecution.

Months later, hope for a freer Internet has faded. Attacks against online users are escalating and, so far, the president has not spoken out publicly in their behalf. “Censorship of the Internet has only gotten worse, but it’s more and more clear that Rouhani does not have complete control over this process,” said cyber security expert Collin Anderson who has conducted research on Iran’s Internet infrastructure.

Table of Contents

Iran’s Internet Landscape
How Iranians Obtain Information
Mixed Messages
Netizens Under Fire
Where Does the Line Get Drawn?
Media Resources and Circumvention

The full report is available for PDF download here.