On the Twitter website – which is one of the latest social networking websites to appear on the internet – an Iranian national prior to joining in the protests against Ahmadinejad’s election victory posted the following message. “It is worth the risk. We are going. I will be unable to update my webpage until I return. Once again, thank you for your kind support…wish me luck!”
Hundreds of thousands of Iranians took to Tehran’s streets to protest against Ahmadinejad’s election victory, while thousands of others logged onto internet websites and social networking sites in order to co-ordinate with each other, and the outside world that was following up on events minute-by-minute. The Iranians that were protesting in the streets, and those protesting in the virtual world, were the source of the events that were taking place throughout the country.
The modern tools of communication allowed the Iranians to record their own experiences and opinions during this critical moment in the history of Iran. The authorities attempted to tighten their grip around the traditional media by expelling and banning news correspondents, cutting off telephone communication, and blocking some television channels and internet websites. However the extent to which global communication has made it difficult to control and monitor is now apparent. Iranians across the country were updated on what was going on via a variety of sources, to the extent that news from the capital was circulated in the cities of Esfahan, Ahvaz, and Zahedan, where local citizens took to the rooftops to chant slogans supporting the demonstrations in Tehran.
It is necessary to monitor everything that is happening on the streets of Iran. The young men and women, what they look like and the slogans that they are chanting, their clashes with the police who are attempting to arrest them; all of this must be monitored. This all takes place amidst a strange atmosphere, as the Iranian authorities have exercised a ban on photography, and have censored a number of reports on the angry demonstrations that are taking place throughout Tehran.
However, despite the media blackout a large quantity of images and news reports found their way across the entire world.
How foolish and useless the decision to implement a media blackout was, particularly in light of the proliferation of non-traditional means of communication, which is something that the Iranian public is utilizing more expertly than the regime and the world could ever have expected. Therefore the attempt to control the public and the political scene by controlling the traditional media can no longer be applied.
This large human tide [in Iran] cannot accept that that their desire for change has been aborted by Ahmadinejad’s re-election. The demonstrators waved green flags in order to declare their support of Mir Hossein Moussavi, the opposition candidate who questioned the integrity of the electoral results. However in reality, these demonstrations do not lie in siding with Moussavi, but rather in objecting to Ahmadinejad and the undoing of Iran’s image in recent years as a result of Ahmadinejad’s policies and positions, which almost destroyed the country.
The Iranians took to the streets and held on tight to their mobile phones, cameras, and computers.
The odds on a radical change are not good, but what is more important is that this scene is being seen viewed from a number of different angles and by a variety of different sources.