Iran’s Bloggers

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I had an interesting lunch meeting yesterday with German Bundestag Member Steffen Kampeter who chairs the Bundestag’s CDU/CSU Parliamentary Budget Committee — and among the many topics we discussed was the impact of blogs and blogging on American politics. Our discussion included the still nascent emergence of German blogs and bloggers.
But as I have been writing a lot about Iran, Saudi Arabia, and plan to do more on Cuba shortly — the issue of online expression in politically repressed environments interests me. Blogging ‘seems’ to have a different vitality in an Iran or Afghanistan than it does in Japan, Canada or the US — but could be wrong on this.
I ran across an interesting blog this morning written by an Iranian living in Toronto. It’s called Editor: MYSELF.
The publisher, Hossein Derakhshan, had a strong piece, “Democracy’s Double Standard in Iran,” in the International Herald Tribune/New York Times last year and seems bent on demystifying Iran’s politics and leaders. He’s clearly a fan of Iran’s former president Khatami — but looks at Ahmadinejad as an inconsequential buffoon (my words, not his — but I think I characterize his views about right).
But also on his site is a link to a roster of lots of other Iranian bloggers — both inside and outside Iran. I don’t have the time to run through more than a few. But it’s interesting to browse through them if you have the time.
Here is an interesting Wikipedia entry on Iran’s growing but government stifled blog sector and also a good entry on “Internet censorship in Iran.”
— Steve Clemons
Update: Some other bloggers are sending links to other Iran-related blogs. Here is one called Iran Information Agency.

Comments

8 comments on “Iran’s Bloggers

  1. erinther says:

    Well, I’m sure you will be interested to know how Hoder attacks Iran’s most prominent reformists. check the website:
    blogcritics.weblogs.us

    Reply

  2. rich says:

    eatbees–Can you point us to some Maghrebi blogs that offer good insight and range of opinion? Thinking of Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco. Thanks.

    Reply

  3. DonS says:

    So, does this begin to fill in the blanks of Steve’s Feb 5 post “On protecting sources”?
    via Think Progress:
    http://thinkprogress.org/2007/02/16/rove-iran/

    Reply

  4. eatbees says:

    When you say Iranian bloggers “‘seem’ to have a different vitality” it’s not clear what you mean. Do you mean more vitality, less vitality, or just “a different” vitality — a different focus, flavor, or style?
    “Editor: Myself” is the best-known Iranian blog in the West, and is something of a gatekeeper to the Iranian blogosphere. So although it is a good place to start, if you want a complete idea of the range and diversity of Iranian blogging you will need to dig deeper.
    You could check out “Global Voices: Iran” and the blogs referenced there, or follow the blogroll links on “Editor: Myself” and the links of people who post comments. Some countries like Morocco and Egypt have blog aggregators people sign up for, that compile the posts of all bloggers in real time on a single page. I don’t know if Iran has that, but it would be the best “cross section” you could hope for.
    In the Maghrebi blogosphere which I follow pretty regularly, there is a different style of blogging than here in the U.S., less divided between “personal” blogs and “expert opinion” blogs. There is a wide range of perceptive commentary about politics and society, mixed in with more literary forms of expression and impressions from daily life. Maybe Iran is like that.
    Good luck!

    Reply

  5. Sean-Paul says:

    Having traveled in Iran just a few months ago I can attest to the fact that Iranians–and many of the internet cafes I visited–have learned how to use anonymizers, etc. . . It isn’t easy for them, and often makes their dial-up connections even slower, but they manage. Glad you are finally making note of the yeoman’s work Iranian bloggers have been doing the last several years Steve, there are many others, some even in English, and I encourage you all to explore them.

    Reply

  6. John says:

    You know it’s about oil. I know it’s about oil. It’s the elephant in the room that the foreign policy establishment and national security mafia refuse to talk about–including the “realists.” And that’s the crux of the problem. The first step in recovery is to admit you’ve got a problem.

    Reply

  7. daCascadian says:

    john >”…coveting those vital strategic interests.”
    Oil.
    Get it ?
    It is ALL about the control of oil & ALWAYS has been.
    Doesn`t matter if you believe it or not.
    It IS ALL about the oil.
    WAKE UP
    “History is indeed little more than the register of the crimes, follies and misfortunes of mankind.” – Edward Gibbon

    Reply

  8. john says:

    Yes, Iranian censorship is a concern, particularly to Iranians. What is of concern to Americans is rampant self-censorship by those in the know. Establishment opinions on Iran vary from negotiating with them and normalizing relations to nuking them. What they refuse to provide is any reason why we should care about Iran at all. What are those mysterious vital strategic interests that they go “wink, wink, nod, nod about?” Lacking any defined substance, America’s goal appears to consist of nothing more than bullying for the sake of bullying, lying for the sake of lying, demonization of Muslims, and eventually going to war for no clearly articulated purpose (like in Iraq).
    It’s time to go public, not on protected sources, but on American strategic interests. Then we can have a real debate about where the problem lies: in Iran or in coveting those vital strategic interests.

    Reply

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