The Guardian reports that Iranian authorities are cracking down on bloggers, forcing the country's nearly one million public diarists to register with authorities or face legal consequences.
Want to start a blog in Iran? Then you'll have to register it with the government—which has recently begun to require that all bloggers register at samandehi.ir, a site established by the ministry of culture of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's government.
All you need do is give your personal information, including your blog's username and password—otherwise it will be filtered and blocked so that nobody in Iran, and perhaps outside too, will be able to access it. This has led to an outcry among many Iranian bloggers who consider the net an independent and free forum for expression.
No word on whether Ahmadinejad's own Borat-like blog (Latest post: "First of all, I apologize for the delay of answering your question. This is due to my heavy schedules") is in compliance with the new regulations. And while his own citizens are arrested and harassed, the diminutive dictator warns his American fans against entering into a pen pal relationship with the head of a rogue state:
In regard to statement you have made, since I did not want my reply lead to any problem for you, did not send it through e-mail, because if some agents are getting into private life of the American citizens and eligitimatley (sic) control them, may create problem for you. Instead, I decided to post the reply on the web log that those who may have the same views such as yours, get the answer.
More on the Iranian blog boom here.
Back in 2004, occasional Reason contributor Marc Johnson explored the Iranian dissident and exile web community.