Iranian Blog Spring Crushed by Mad Mullahs
Wired 13.06: POSTS
: "The Unicode breakthrough helped ignite massive growth in Internet readership in Iran. 'There were all these journalists who didn't have a venue, and all these readers who missed the reformist papers.' By last year, 5 million Iranians were using the Internet in the nation of 69 million, and an estimated 100,000 blogs.
The standard fare for Iranian blogs is similar to what you find in the US - dating, fashion, movies, and music, plus some politics and information age theorizing. But like Levi's in Khrushchev's Russia, such quotidian matters contain the seeds of revolution, Derakhshan says.
Maybe that's why the blog spring was crushed. At first, 'the clerics didn't really understand what they were,' he says, so they didn't bother shutting them down. But last June the Iranian judiciary put in place a more sophisticated filtering system that blocks Iranian access to political Web sites and blogs. (Derakhshan's traffic immediately dropped by half.) Then in September, officials got serious, arresting, interrogating, and even jailing some of the country's bloggers, according to human rights groups. Two of those writers, Mojtaba Saminejad and Mohammad Reza Nasab Abdolahi, remain in prison."