Bloggers Give Voice to Iranian Protests; Weblogs and Chatrooms in the UK Are a Haven for Frivolous Chatter and Mindless Talk. but as Ryan Harrison Discovered, They Are Helping to Liberate One of the Most Repressed Nations on Earth

The Birmingham Post (England), March 29, 2006 | Go to article overview

Bloggers Give Voice to Iranian Protests; Weblogs and Chatrooms in the UK Are a Haven for Frivolous Chatter and Mindless Talk. but as Ryan Harrison Discovered, They Are Helping to Liberate One of the Most Repressed Nations on Earth


Byline: Ryan Harrison

This week an Iraqi female blogger grabbed the headlines for being the first blog author to be nominated for a major literary prize.

The 26-year-old university graduate, known only by her pseudonym Riverbend, was longlisted for BBC Four's pounds 30,000 Samuel Jonson award - the world's richest non-fiction award.

The author's recognition in mainstream press is a major leap forward for Middle East webloggers but Iraqis are light years behind their web-savvy neighbours in Iran, where blogging has revolutionised a generation and is now a powerful tool of political activism.

Today, Persian, the language of Iran, is the fourth most frequently used language for keeping online journals - there are more Iranian blogs than Spanish, German, Italian, Chinese and Russian.

And a recent blog census found that there are more than 700,000 blogs written in Persian, compared with about 50 in neighbouring Iraq.

This phenomenon of starting a website and airing your views has developed in the UK as a gateway for meaningless babble. There's nothing secretive or dangerous in the blogs of a nation that enjoys freedom of expression and operates according to democratic principles.

In the Islamic Republic of Iran, where Morality Police roam the streets and stoning is still an accepted punishment for adultery, things are a little different.

Weblogs there offer Iranians, for the first time, the chance to have their private opinions published in a public forum.

To young educated Iranians, the introduction of the Internet and blogs has revolutionised a generation that is constantly battling with Western globalisation and Islamic tradition.

One entry on the blog, python.persianblog.com, provides some clues to answering why blogs have taken hold in Iran.

July 20 2003: "Has everyone noticed the spooky absence of graffiti in our public toilets since the arrival of weblogs? Remember the toilets at university we used to call our 'Freedom Columns'?"

Blogs give young Iranians a free space to express themselves, that they've never experienced before.

During the elections in Iran last June, Hossein Derakhshan, a 31-year old Iranian journalist and weblogger, was interrogated for four hours by government officials at Tehran's Mehrabad Airport.

A self-exiled Iranian, who has lived in Canada since 2000, Hossein was reporting events for his blog.

Authorities familiar with his website stopped Derakhshan at the border and took him in for questioning. He was told that a government-imposed filter on his site would be lifted and he would be allowed free travel to and from Iran if he removed antigovernment entries from his blog and wrote a letter of apology to the government. He wrote the letter and left Iran a few days later.

Derakhshan worked with BBC's Persian service and as a freelance journalist, but considers himself a full-time weblogger. His controversial blog, Editor: Myself, is written in Persian and English, but has been blocked in Iran.

Tales such as Hossein's are not uncommon in a country where the government is struggling to control the final means of social and political expression. As journalist human rights group, Reporters Sans Frontieres, puts it: "In a country where independent press has to fight for survival daily, on-line publications and weblogs are the last media to fall into the authorities' clutches.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Bloggers Give Voice to Iranian Protests; Weblogs and Chatrooms in the UK Are a Haven for Frivolous Chatter and Mindless Talk. but as Ryan Harrison Discovered, They Are Helping to Liberate One of the Most Repressed Nations on Earth
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.