Iran releases activist who opposed internet control bill
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Iranian authorities have released on bail an activist who was jailed for criticizing a bill to toughen up policing of Iran’s already censored internet, his family said.
Hossein Ronaghi, blogger and free speech campaigner, disappeared on February 23 after criticizing the ‘User Protection Bill’, a vaguely worded bill that would block additional foreign content, including some media social. He was criticized by many Iranians.
Ronaghi’s brother Hassan, who is also an activist, tweeted the release on Wednesday evening. Her brother had gone on a hunger strike to protest her detention.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has called social media in Iran “unbridled”, and Ronaghi says he wants it to be more controlled. The wording of the bill has not yet been finalized, but it could lead to the disruption of international internet services and websites such as Instagram that have not yet been blocked.
The Iranian government has long blocked access to numerous websites and social media platforms, from YouTube and Facebook to Twitter and Telegram. Many Iranians access social media through VPNs and proxies. Instagram and WhatsApp remain unblocked.