Monday, December 20, 2004

Mullahs vs Bloggers

The Guardian (UK) reports that Iran boasts 75,000 blogs with Farsi the fourth most populous language globally for weblogs. Compare that with Iraq which has 50.

The internet has opened a new virtual space for free speech in a country dubbed the "the biggest prison for journalists in the Middle East", by Reporters sans Frontieres (RSF). Through the anonymity and freedom that weblogs can provide, those who once lacked voices are at last speaking up and discussing issues that have never been aired in any other media in the Islamic world. Where else in Iran could someone dare write, as the blogger Faryadehmah did, "when these mullahs are dethroned ... it will be like the Berlin wall coming down ..."?

In the last five years up to 100 media publications, including 41 daily newspapers, have been closed by Iran's hardline judiciary. Yet today, with tens of thousands of Iranian weblogs there is an alternative media that for the moment defies control and supervision of speech by authoritarian rule.

And if you think Dan Rather was dismissive of bloggers...Berlin Wall indeed.

HT: The Captain

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