Sunday, December 12, 2004

Weblogs in Iran

One of Iran's leading bloggers was in Cambridge for a conference last week. The influence of the internet on Iranian politics is much more important than most people realize. Hossein Derakhshan, known as hoder, hosts one of the best known blogs in English. He needs to be on everyone's links who wants to be informed about Iranian politics.
Ethan Zuckerman is an internet development expert whose current principal interest is African blog development, specifically in Ghana. This is from his notes of the Cambridge conference at which Hoder was a speaker.

There's about 70 million people in Iran, and 70% of Iranians are under 30 years old. There are roughtly 5-7 million internet users in Iran, and, amazingly, about 70 - 75,000 active iranian weblogs, most of them in Persian. The Internet in Iran is the most trusted medium for journalism, more trusted than satellite broadcasts, either from the middle east or from the United States. (There are a couple of Persian-language satellite channels broadcast from Los Angeles.)
Unlike in the US, where the Internet came online a good five years before blog-like interactivity, the Internet was introduced in Iran with blogs... and this may mean the Internet gets used very differently in Iran. As in the US, it took a while for the Internet to move beyond entertainment to politics - many of the Iranian blogs are basically entertainment, but politics are starting to become more important.

For a long list of English weblogs by Iranians, check out the blogroll of Iranian Truth.

Iran is the elephant in the room in that part of the world.
I saw an "exit strategy" for the US from both Afghanistan and Iraq which consisted of a map of Iran with arrows pointing toward a military invasion of Iran. In fact, Glenn Reynolds linked to it. I suppose it was supposed to be cute, but I found it dangerously and ignorantly offensive.
Sabre rattling in Washington does not make me feel any better.

1 comment:

Deborah said...

Amen to no more saber rattling in Washington. They've already done far more than enough damage for one administration.