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Iran’s Supreme Leader suggests those who spread “rumors” or “false claims” online should be prosecuted

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Iran has called for new laws on policing “misinformation” online. Just like in other countries, the move is used to suppress dissent and protests.

“Psychological security is one of the rights of the people. What is psychological security?” Iran’s Supreme leader in his latest speech.

“It means that each day rumors, false claims, and frightening statements should not be spread in people’s minds. Until yesterday, it was just the newspapers that spread lies. But now, the internet has been added to it.

“Once every few days or every few hours, rumors or false claims by specific or unknown individuals are published on the internet which frightens people and disturbs their minds. A lie spread as a rumor. One of the responsibilities of the judiciary is to deal with this issue.

“I’ve heard some here say that we don’t have a law for this. We can use the existing laws and find the appropriate sentence for this. If we don’t have the law we should create new laws quickly.”

Iran’s Minister for Information and Communications Technology has dismissed rumors that the government plans to ban Meta’s messaging platform WhatsApp and social media platform Instagram.

Iran’s legislature is considering the controversial Internet Protection Bill, which many fear will result in more internet censorship in Iran. Lawmaker Gholamreza Nouri fuelled the speculation of the ban of WhatsApp and Instagram.

While explaining the potential effects of the bill, Nouri said it could result in the ban of popular apps like Instagram and WhatsApp.

However, Iran’s ICT Minister Eisa Zarepour dismissed the speculation of the government banning Instagram and WhatsApp as “rumors.”

“I don’t know why such rumors are spread across the country since they work to get the public worried,” the minister said.

But he said that his ministry is not responsible for internet censorship.

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