Monday, May 25, 2009

Closing the Laptops

Iranian president Ahmadinejad denies calling for Facebook ban and claims that the blocking of the popular social network site that is being used heavily by his opponents to reach younger voters is merely coincidentally happening just before nationwide elections. Recently, the London Telegraph argued that "Facebook is the best hope for democracy in Iran," a claim that might sound strange to users of the site who have expressed dissatisfaction with the state of their digital rights as content-creators and private communicators.

AFP reports in "Iran blocks Facebook over presidential hopeful: Ilna" that lack of access was almost certainly politically motivated to thwart Mir Hossein Mousavi's ambitions for the highest office in the land. In addition to a Facebook page with over six thousand supporters, Mousavi's campaign has a YouTube channel that includes an animated pie chart video that challenges the government's prevailing view of majoritarian politics in Iran.

Iran seems to also have its own designated Facebook page, where government supporters can post YouTube information graphics videos that paint a positive picture of the Iranian economy or stories about sexual liberation enabled by the rise of the imams. Note that their blog does allow comments, where one reader pointed out that the number of deaths of children in the crackdowns prior to the Iranian revolution was dwarfed by the deaths of parents and grandparents in the cultural revolution of the fundamentalist aftermath.

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