Thursday, June 18, 2009

Iran Media Clampdown

EDITORS' NOTE: Reuters and other foreign media are subject to Iranian restrictions on their ability to report, film or take pictures in Tehran. A video grab from state television news network IRINN shows hundreds of supporters of defeated presidential candidate Mirhossein Mousavi gathering in Tehran June 17, 2009. Iranian reformist Mousavi called on Wednesday for a day of mourning for those killed in clashes set off by a disputed presidential election as tens of thousands protested for the fifth straight day. REUTERS/IRINN via Reuters TV

Below are pictures from that rally taken by Iranian Twitter users and distributed by wire services such as Reuter, AP and AFP:

Also, in an astonishing move, a number of Iranian soccer players competing in a World Cup qualifying match against South Korea in Seoul, wore and displayed green wrist/arm bands in support of democracy advocates back home:

But CBSNews reports some worrying developments:
The Revolutionary Guard, an elite military force answering to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said through the state news service that Iranian Web sites and bloggers must remove any materials that "create tension" or face legal action.

CBS News correspondent Elizabeth Palmer reports that Iranian authorities appear to have successfully blocked all access to Facebook, MySpace and Twitter Wednesday morning. Access had been intermittent since the election.

...

It was the Guards' first public statement since the crisis erupted following the presidential election last Friday.

Along with the Western social networking sites which are now blocked, Iranian reformist Web sites and blogs have been vital conduits for Iranians to inform the world about protests over the declaration of election victory for hard-line President
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

...

CBSNews.com editor-in-chief Dan Farber noted that several sites are offering information on what is happening on the ground in Iran and other countries, piecing together and triangulating data to create almost real-time snapshots. While it's often impossible to verify the authenticity of the information, the combined force of the Web in conveying the story from Iran has been unprecedented. Click here to see some of the recent video and images from "citizen journalists" covering the aftermath of the contested vote.

...

Iran clamped down Tuesday on independent media in an attempt to control images of election protests, but pictures and videos leaked out anyway - showing how difficult it is to shut off the flow of information in the Internet age.
For more links to sources reporting (or "i-reporting") on events in Iran you can check here. Also, readers can have a look at the following TwitPic feeds:
Finally, from Daily Kos (via Sandmonkey) here is the saddest (most pathetic) news of all: "yesterday's rally for Ahmadinejad's supporters was photoshopped to appear larger than it really was."

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