On Wednesday, September 28, Donya-e-Eqtesad newspaper reported that Iran is on the way to making restrictions on access to Instagram and WhatsApp permanent.
Amid ongoing protests against dictatorship Iran, the newspaper wrote: “The restrictions imposed on these two social media sites following Mahsa Amini's death and the subsequent protests will be made permanent.”
The newspaper also reported that Instagram and WhatsApp are likely to suffer the same fate as Telegram, which has seen repeated bans in Iran.
The report states that "applying maximum restrictions on cyberspace and blocking users’ access to major foreign platforms shows that a complete and comprehensive version of the Protection Bill is now coming into effect."
The so-called “User Protection Bill” is a set of draconian restrictions on internet access first proposed by MPs last year. It would effectively bar foreign digital services providers from operating, and place internet gateways under the control of the military.
Last week it emerged that access to Instagram had been blocked in Iran, with users unable to access their accounts even with the use of a VPN. Blanket mobile internet shutdowns have also been imposed in much of the country.
The encrypted messaging app Signal has also put out a call for people abroad to set up proxy servers after access was blocked last week.
Global institutions including Amnesty International, the International Federation of Journalists and Reporters Without Borders have previously criticized the Iranian government's approach to widespread online censorship, demanding the immediate removal of restrictions.