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More about INTERNET AND DEMOCRACY

By Javier Velandia

Past April 15 Radio Free Europe published an interview with Austin Heap, director of the San Francisco-based Censorship Research Center; he announced the new strategy of the US Government to “help” the Iranians to beat the draconian Internet censorship established by the president Mahmud Ahmadineyad.

Heap said that with technology they will “allow people to have their basic human right of free speech without fear of retaliation. It’s not just Iran for us; it is a whole host of countries around the world who are using the Internet as a tool of silencing people “.

The US government is assuming again that the internet by itself would reach democracy.  It is important to say that the use of internet could shape different ways of social and cultural changes but that does not mean that the internet will bring democracy to the people.

http://www.rferl.org/content/Interview_Helping_Iranians_Beat_Internet_Censorship/2013410.html

Categories: IRAN

Twitter revolution Vs Democracy

April 20, 2010 Leave a comment

By Javier Velandia

Looking in you tube for the Twitter Revolution I Found this video that compares how the media talk about the Twitter influence in different contexts .The good influence: In Iran during the Twitter revolution, the social network helped the people to express themselves. It is perceived like as a tool of for democracy and freedom of speech.

The Bad influence: The video uses an example of the protesters in the G20 meeting in Pittsburg who used twitter to evade police controls get organized and protest.

These two views show the ambivalence of discourses and the differing perceptions of freedom of speech and democracy.

The media talk about the ”Twitter Revolution” and make a link between freedom of speech, democracy and liberty, ignoring others types of expression that are not democratic and do not want to be democratic; for example the G20 protesters.

It is not about twitter itself pursuing democracy and freedom of speech. it is about how and by whom is this tool used).

In the video president Bush’s DPD National Security adviser said: “is it any body that should possible get the novel peace prize in the next time around it should be the founders of Twitter” arguing the importance of the social network for the democratic world.

But what happens when Twitter is used by others that want to protest and express their ideas against democratic governments? Are they criminalized?  Are they treated like terrorist?

The video concludes with a report that affirms “Millions of young people are communicating faster than the U.S military can react”

Twitter is not democratic, the twitter revolution is not democratic, instead it is a manifestation of the people using technological tools to be visible and express their ideas.

Twitter is not revolutionary itself, is the people that use the technology that give significance to the space.

Categories: IRAN

The fear of Iranian Government

March 25, 2010 Leave a comment

By Javier Velandia

The called Twitter Revolution (July 2009) showed the world the multiple violations to the freedom of speech in Iran and the power of internet and social networks in social movements.

During the past elections in Iran, the Internet played a big role as a tool for the political and in the political and social movements against the government. The multiple “twits” blog posts and text messages transmitted to the world through the Internet showed the impact of “citizen journalism”.

The situation in Iran was public to the world. Governments like the United States and the UK monitored and supported the citizen movements around the internet and criticized the censorship of the media in Iran.

For the Iranian president Mahmud Ahmadineyad the Internet was a threat. He was at risk of losing control over internal and external information and of losing his power, a risk of losing control over internal and external information and for losing the power. The multiple social movements created through the social networks went from the virtual space to Tehran’s streets and undermined the government’s credibility both within the nation and around the world in the nation and the world.

During the elections both text messages and the internet service were suspended.

After the “Twitter Revolution” the United States Government saw in social networks the perfect weapon to fight against Mahmud’s regime and take one step further  towards democracy in Iran.

This new status of social networks as political tools, is changing the way of looking at the internet and its benefits . It has emerged as the perfect scenario for debates on politics and social behaviors)and has become the new scenario for politics and social behaviors.

The biggest fear of the Iranian Government is to loose control. the image of the internet as a tool for democracy and as a space to  promote freedom of speech are the reasons why Mahmud’s Government filter  the internet with stronger controls and new technologies.

Some of the regulations of the Iranian Government include slowing down the internet access, filtering information, banning internet sites and arresting several internet activists like bloggers. with the excuse of preserving religion, morality, and social harmony

http://opennet.net/research/profiles/iran

http://threatened.globalvoicesonline.org/bloggers/iran

Categories: IRAN