Iranian authorities block BBC

MUMBAI: Access to BBC, the BBC's international news website, is being blocked within Iran at the request of the authorities.

The BBC says that initial assessments of the level of traffic to the site within Iran indicate that they have dropped substantially on normal traffic levels over the last three days since reports of the country-wide blocking began.

The BBC's international online news services in the English language remain unaffected. BBC World Service radio broadcasts in both Persian and English are being received by audiences in Iran as normal.

BBC World Service director Nigel Chapman said: "BBC is a major source of news for Iranians, and has the biggest impact of any online site or newspaper in Persian. We are very concerned at this action and regret that it deprives a great number of ordinary Iranians of a trusted source of impartial and editorially independent news and information. We shall be making representations to the Iranian authorities with a view to reinstating access to our service for all Iranians."

"The appetite among Iranians to know more about what's going on, both in Iran and abroad, has never been greater. Online is an important part of life in modern Iran; there is a hugely active and engaged online community. The country is a world leader in terms of the proportion of the population engaged in 'blogging'. Many people in Iran have contacted us to tell us they believe the quality of information and debate in the country will be much poorer following this action," said Chapman.

BBC receives around 30 million page impressions per month. It is estimated that Iran has seven million internet users and BBC attracts around one third of all users in the country.

The BBC has been broadcasting radio programmes in the Persian language to Iran for more than 65 years. Its Persian internet site started in 2001.

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