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The Berkman Center community has been paying close attention to the role of the Internet and cell phones in the post-election demonstrations in Iran.

The OpenNet Initiative (ONI) has just released a new survey of Internet filtering and online content controls in Iran, which details the most recent instances of censorship and provides a basic framework for understanding the legal, technical and institutional mechanisms of filtering in Iran.

In the blog post, "Cracking Down on Digital Communication and Political Organizing in Iran", ONI offers a rundown of the suppressive measures being taken by the Iranian government in the wake of the controversial presidential election and explains how the growing role of the Internet and mobile phones in Iranian politics has been met with the government tightening its reigns around digital technologies.

Many important Web sites have been blocked over the past couple of days, including the Web sites of the opposition parties in Iran, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. While political organizers have learned to leverage the organizing power of Web 2.0 tools, government censors in Iran are quick to shut them down when they are most effective. None of this is surprising; it reflects similar events seen in many places around the world. CONTINUED...

As Hamid Tehrani points out in the Global Voices Online blog post "Iran: Protests and Repression," however,

Although Twitter, Facebook and YouTube are currently blocked in Iran, many Iranians have been using proxies to bypass filters and report up-to-the-minute news. Iranian authorities have also blocked SMS text messages, and are also filtering several news websites reflecting reformist opinions. CONTINUED...

Global Voices Online has been providing special coverage of the Iranian elections since April. Checkout their complete coverage here.

The Internet & Democracy Project (I&D) has also been following the story closely, mapping Iran's blogosphere on election eve, and providing broader context with the Interactive Persian Blogosphere Map, which shows the relationships among the many kinds of bloggers active in Iran. Also see Cracking Down on Digital Communication and Political Organizing in Iran, Mapping Iran’s Blogosphere on Election Eve, and YouTube Shows Different Faces of Iranian Election on the I&D blog. 

For more on the role of technology in Iran's post-election protests take a look at:

Finally, be sure to checkout Iran's country profile on Herdict.org and ONI's new survey of internet filtering in Iran to see what sites are being reported as inaccessible by people in the country right now.

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Projects & Tools 03

Global Voices

Global Voices Online is an online citizen media community dedicated to amplifying independent online voices from outside North America and Europe. More

OpenNet Initiative

A collaborative project between the Citizen Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto; the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University; and… More

Internet and Democracy

The Internet and Democracy Project is an initiative that will examine how the Internet influences democratic norms and modes, including its impact on civil society, citizen media,… More


Publications 01

Saturday, Apr 5, 2008

Mapping Iran’s Online Public: Politics and Culture in the Persian Blogosphere

(English and Persian translation)

This case study is part of a series produced by the Internet and Democracy project. It analyzes the composition of the Iranian blogosphere and its possible impact on political and… More