Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Iran and Media

Lots of interesting coverage of Iran. Two things have jumped out at me. One, signs in English (I don't know how widely English is used, or if it is at all, Iranians typically speak Persian), and two, how uses of media technology to distribute information under difficult political circumstances hasn't changed all that much (only the specific technology has).

From an article in Slate by Harry Newman:
During the time of the anti-shah protests, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini was exiled near Paris. His speeches were transmitted by telephone into Iran, recorded onto cassette, and then thousands of dubbed copies were distributed to his followers. Today, opposition figures in Iran and abroad are using social-networking technology to publicize their protests. Both then and now, international media—above all, diaspora Persian-language news broadcasts—play a critical role in expanding the opposition forces.
Technology changes, people don't.

Picture with Persian and English signs, credit: BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP/Getty Images, from

Update: Aha! Jason Rezaian writes at Slate, "Many carried signs in English, intended for the noticeably absent foreign media to snap." He is not just writing in a safe little room like I am, here is there (well, if you believe what you read at Slate, and there are plenty of journalists there and a ton of info is really getting out via various channels, so I don't see why not).

Update 2: Finally someone is comparing the theft of the election in Iran with the theft of the 2000 election in the US (Austin Heap at Salon).

Update 4: Aha!