Growing Up with Censorship
The internet freedom you enjoy isn’t that way for everyone as some countries have strict restrictions and surveillance put in place. The good news is you can overcome such restrictions even if you are growing up with censorship in your area by using an encrypted service such as limevpn service.
We will share the story of one Sanam (fake name) who is a digital rights activist in Iran, who speaks about his life with censorship.
Sanam’s father was rusticated from college and arrested for being a member of the opposition, and also a political activist. He served for years and was tortured all that time until his eventual release. It was after his release from prison and impending death that he got married and Sanam was born.
Sanam learned of this story as a teenager and has also been active in activism ever since. The arrest served as an eye-opener to Sanam as he realized more about what his family had gone through in the past.
He says that civil liberties are important to him as well as human rights and internet freedom. All of these are worth fighting for.
In Iran, censorship is very pervasive and infiltrates into many parts of society. It is defined as a system of information restriction to the interest of the state. Independent Watchdog Freedom House describes Iran as one of the countries in the world with the worst restrictions put in place against internet freedom. They further describe the warnings magazines and newspapers get from the authorities about the topics they cover. It doesn’t end with controlling the topics to be covered but they also influence how it is being done. Foreign-based websites are also filtered like social media sites and foreign news outlets. The use of foreign dishes is illegal, and broadcasts from abroad are jammed.
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The media houses that are permitted to share content have limits for images of alcohol beverages, people of the opposite sex sitting closely or touching, close up photos of women’s faces, sorcery, low neckline shirts, and a lot more. By this, you can see that censorship isn’t just about denying access to information, but is a part of everyday life in Iran and is a reality for those living there.
Sanam refuses to live by those censorships and restrictions. The Iranian government [….] Doesn’t tolerate any form of opposition but my friends and I have a secret life on the internet.
He connects to the internet through a VPN and downloads Iranian women’s music from abroad. He also watches online tutorials and prepares otherwise banned alcoholic beverages, he organizes underground DJ parties for the young people to have a nice time with their partners as they all drink and dance.
“If there were no VPN connection with which I could hide behind as I go about my exploits, then I would have had no day to day life”. He also adds that he joins in protests to show his displeasure whenever possible.
He runs a family business with his father these days to install satellite dishes in homes. Since such dishes are banned in Iran, they have to smuggle into the country.
Sanam also installs VPN software for those in his community who want to bypass the censorship that has been placed by the government. Networking is a huge part of digital activism he explains. “I install a VPN for my friends and family on their phones, and if someone introduces an IT opportunity to me, I also install a VPN app there. I go beyond the real world into the virtual world and also help opponents of the regime to install secure VPN apps. If volunteers are needed by the opponents too, I help where I can”.
Real friendship exists between Sanam, his friends, those he helps, and other activists living in his community. Their network is closely knitted and for it to function there has to be trusted. Sanam explains that he trusts a VPN provider based on their procedures and their security policies.
When asked if he fears for his safety at any point due to his line of work and school of thought, he answered by saying he suffers from anxiety of what could happen if he were discovered and that has been a day to day struggle for him.
“let me share some bitter memories with you. When I was in university, I invited my girlfriend to my school. When she arrived I held her hand and was almost expelled because of that.” He continued, “I have been arrested once by the security forces of the ministry of intelligence and even though I had the chance to escape, my friends were imprisoned”.
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The examples above show how risky it is both physically and emotionally to you if your surroundings put up more restrictions than your passion can bear. All these threats and growing up with censorship has made Sanam find peace in the digital world. He continues to fight for causes that mean so much to him and he looks for ways where he can express his thoughts freely. “the use of digital security tools is what saves the lives of those that oppose the regime, and it’s very important to me”.
Sanam’s example shows just how far someone can go when they are in areas where the expression of freedom isn’t granted. In such situations, you must employ a means that allows you to stay safe online to prevent physical danger in reality.
Growing up with censorship has made Sanam and others like him to seek other means to have a life on the internet where they can be free to express their thoughts. The penalty for such actions are grave and so it’s important to make the best choice and choose a service that can guarantee your safety. Even though a VPN is one of such services that can guarantee your safety, are all of them equal in their actions? Some VPN services don’t provide you with good enough protection and you might end up being discovered and made to face the penalty and that is why if you must use a VPN, a premium service is recommended. Limevpn is one of the best that guarantees complete anonymity and privacy on the internet, and you can live with freedom in the virtual world even if they are strict restrictions where you live.