Freedom of the Press
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Press Freedom Score (0 = best, 100 = worst)
Legal Environment(0 = best, 30 = worst)
Political Environment(0 = best, 40 = worst)
Economic Environment(0 = best, 30 = worst)
Nearly 38 percent of the population regularly accesses the internet. Blogging websites such as Blogger and Persianblog are often blocked, but ONI argues that the Persian-language blogosphere is one of the world’s largest and most vibrant. Unable to entirely silence online dissidents, the regime announced in late 2008 that it intended to create thousands of progovernment blogs. This amounted to recognition of the power of Iran’s hundred-thousand-strong blogging community. Blogs have been harnessed by the large youth population as a medium for expressing frustration about the regime as well as commenting on a variety of social and cultural issues. Blogger Omidreza Mirsayafi allegedly committed suicide in Tehran’s Evin prison in March 2009; critics argue that prison authorities ignored his severe depression. At year’s end, seven bloggers remained imprisoned. Nevertheless, websites continue to communicate opinions that the country’s print media would never publish, with both reform advocates and conservatives promoting their political agendas. Iran’s most popular blogs oppose the regime, and many bloggers publish anonymously. The internet has also provided a key platform for international information portals—such as Article 19’s Persianimpediment.org, Freedom House’s Gozaar, and Rooz Online—that promote freedom of expression and inform the Iranian public on human rights issues.