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Narenji

DIGITAL VOICES

Narenji

Narenji (which means “Orange” in Persian) was Iran’s top website for gadget news, edited daily by a team of bloggers. The site was targeted at Iran’s growing audience of technology enthusiasts, offering reviews of new phones, summaries of Persian-language apps and downloads, and other relevant information.

On December 3, 2013, Narenji’s team of producers were detained by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, and a video of their arrest broadcast on Iranian state television. The accompanying report stated that the bloggers had been funded and trained by "espionage networks…aiming for a 'soft overthrow' of the Iranian regime." What appears to have triggered the crackdown is a belief by Iranian prosecutors that one or more members of the Narenji team had received journalist training from the BBC.

EFF’s International Director, Danny O’Brien, wrote at the time of arrest:

The Narenji team's treatment is another example of how technologists are targeted by governments worldwide as a result of their work. It doesn't matter if you're writing a blog about Android development or distributing anti-censorship proxies: to many governments, simply being well-known online or having a latent power to influence or change society through your technical knowledge can quickly turn you into an unacceptable threat to the social order.

Currently, all members of the team have been released from prison, though the website —as well as its sister sites, Nardebaan and Negahbaan— are now offline.

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