If you can’t read this, it means you’re possibly in Syria, China or Iran

Internet doesn’t work well everywhere.

When I shout at my computer because the latest episode of the Daily Show with Jon Stewart is not uploading properly, I always remember how I had to cope with a slow connection in Iran.

And it’s like jumping back in the mid-nineties: it takes a while to fully upload a single picture, a little more for sending an email and, if you experience a really bad day, it means not even Google’s working.


Here’s how the BBC News website looks like when you’re trying to connect from Tehran without a VPN

The Freedom of the Net 2014 report released by Freedom House last week highlights how bad the situation is (internet-wise) in 65 countries.

36 of the countries surveyed performed pretty bad in online freedom between May 2013 and May 2014 for a variety of reasons that span from blocked social networks, aggressive online surveillance and intimidation and arrest of journalists and activists.


As you can see, Iran remains a country with the lowest degree of freedom access and the initial hope for reform by President Hassan Rouhani remains, for now, unattended.

It is odd to see that Iranians risk jail time if they dare to access social networks when politicians, clerics and even Ayatollah Khamenei, Iran’s Supreme Leader, have their certified Twitter handles and official Facebook pages.

When school kills – an original investigation for Contributoria

reza talebzadeh IIEarlier in July, I met a good friend of mine and a well-known Iranian artist and photographer – Reza Talebzadeh.

Among other things and his ongoing projects, we discussed a rather tragic issue that involves school children dying in rural Iran. What happens is that many schools across the country are heated by oil stoves and it’s not unusual that these old heating systems cause sudden explosions.

Schools become time bombs and the number of casualties among children and staff increases every year due to poor emergency training and Fire Brigades located too far away to promptly intervene in case of fire.

Reza realized an exhibition with fellow artists to raise awareness on this massacre of the innocents but there’s still a lot to do to prevent these deaths.

I’m currently working with Alireza on this story for Contributoria and if you’re interested and you too would like the world to know about this ongoing tragedy, please support – it’s free and by February you’ll be able to read what we have found out.