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Internet & Democracy project releases study of "Iran's online public"

It is with great pleasure that the Berkman Center announces a major research release from the Internet & Democracy project: "Mapping Iran’s Online Public: Politics and Culture in the Persian Blogosphere."

"Mapping Iran’s Online Public" utilizes a unique methodology that blends computational analysis and human coding to investigate the contours and scope of the discussions taking place in the Persian blogosphere. Authored by Internet & Democracy project director Bruce Etling and Morningside Analytics founder and Berkman affiliate John Kelly, the study builds on data generously shared by Morningside Analytics and on analyses and input from Persian-speaking researchers. Iran experts and the Berkman community provided feedback and criticism throughout the research. Congratulations and thanks to all who collaborated on this significant work!

The study counters several popular beliefs about blogging in Iran, explaining that, "in contrast to the conventional wisdom that Iranian bloggers are mainly young democrats critical of the regime, we found a wide range of opinions representing religious conservative points of view as well as secular and reform-minded ones, and topics ranging from politics and human rights to poetry, religion and pop culture." As reported in Sunday’s New York Times, the study illustrates how Iran’s blogosphere reflects the diversity and variability of life in the Islamic Republic.

This case study is the third in a series produced by Berkman’s Internet & Democracy project. The first case looks at the user-generated news site OhmyNews and its impact on the 2002 Presidential elections in South Korea. The second documents nontraditional media and the use of cell phone technologies for information sharing and organization of protesters during Ukraine’s Orange Revolution. Additional cases are being developed, including the mapping and analyzing of other blogospheres from around the world.

For access to these other cases or for more information about the Internet & Democracy project, visit the project’s web page.

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