Iran authorities 'disrupt internet' during Shajarian tribute

Iran authorities 'disrupt internet' as mourners remember revolutionary singer Mohammad Reza Shajarian
2 min read
09 October, 2020
The death of singer Shajarian prompted thousands of Iranians to take to the streets in remembrance.
Mohammad Reza Shajarian's death caused many to take to the streets [Getty]

Internet services in Tehran were disrupted in what is believed to have been a deliberate move by the authorities to prevent organisation, as thousands gathered to mourn the death of famous singer Mohammad Reza Shajarian.

Internet services in the capital city were disrupted from 7:00pm local time on Thursday, according to network data from Netblocks Internet Observatory, an organisation which tracks internet disruptions across the world.

The block occurred at the same time as Iranians took to the streets to commemorate the controversial musician Shajarian, who died at the age of 80.

Shajarian, referred to by fans as "Maestro" was a classical Persian musician and composer.

Authorities had banned him from holding concerts and releasing music due to his support for anti-government protests over a decade ago in 2009.

Homayoun, Shajarian’s son shared the news of his death in a statement on Instagram, prompting an outpouring of support from followers.

In a tweet, President Hassan Rouhani said "the grateful Iranian nation will always keep the name, memory and work of this popular artist alive in their memory".

The telecommunication disruption occurred shortly before videos appeared on social media which showed people gathering outside the hospital where he died.

This isn’t the first time such network blocks happened during a highly charged moment in the country.

On 14 July 2020 a similar incident had been documented by Netblocks, again during a charged moment; Iranians had been protesting the sentencing of youths who participated in the November 2019 protests.

The authorities at the time shut down internet access nationally, and had not been switched back on until one week later, after protests ended.

Internet shutdown can include several forms; it may be that social media is blocked, or in the case of Iran a complete blackout.

In 2016 the UN passed a resolution stating governments should not block access to information.

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