Jamming signals, blocking phones, taking down sites: technology under pressure

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

Satellite TV and the internet have had a massively positive impact on reaching Iran with the Gospel. There have always been challenges, but in recent months the levels of hostility towards technology has clearly intensified. There have been reports of the authorities trying to jam the satellite TV signals from Christian broadcasters. This has been largely unsuccessful. A key part of the TV outreach programme is the telephone number for viewers to call if touched by what they have seen. There are also reports that some of these numbers have been successfully blocked. Calls to advertised numbers on the screen do not get through.

As for the internet, Iran has always adopted a vigorous censorship policy. It blocks up to 27% of all the sites on the whole web. That amounts to millions of sites. 30% of all sites in the arts, news, and society categories are blocked. This is the section where Christian sites are placed – and sadly some of these are closed down. However, since giant sites like ‘youtube’ also fall foul of Iran’s web policemen, it is not surprising Iranians have learned how to use proxy servers to beat the censors. This is certainly the case for the Christian sites. There have even been rumours that Iran wants to cut itself off from the entire web and have just its own system. Many think this will remain just a rumour. It is not practical. While Iran’s pressure on technology by and large harms the efforts of Christians to reach the country with the Gospel, it should be noted in the government’s favour that it has managed to block 97% of adult pornographic sites.

Pray for

• All Satellite Christian TV programmes to be free from jamming.
• Phone numbers to Christian broadcasters not to be blocked.
• Censorship on Christian websites to be lifted.