View of part of the Fujairah Corniche and the Hajar Mountains in the Background

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Why Bloggers in Iran and the Middle East Are Valuable

While TV reports are given quite a different version of President Ahmadinejar’s speeches to North America audiences last week, Iranian bloggers are giving a different story, says an important New York Times article today.

Here is a sample from one Iranian blogger:

“Most Western news agencies like CNN and Fox News, which are branded by the regime as the agents of a Western cultural war, broadcast the speech of President Ahmadinejad live. It is interesting that none of the channels inside our country did that. What does this mean? Does it mean we don’t trust ourselves? Does it mean that we worry we might let something slip? Does it mean that we fear that our president might let something slip?”

“It means that knowing is not a right our people have! It means that other countries abide by democracy more than we do. It means that even we don’t believe ourselves, even that we fear ourselves. We fear that we might say something by mistake and that our lies would be revealed to the people. Really, why are the state officials against open access to information? Why don’t the people even have the right to hear the speech of their elected president? Why can’t they hear his reasoning for issues like nuclear power, democracy in Iran, and so on?”

“What is interesting is that we claim the Americans want to prevent our voice from being heard, so why do we censor ourselves?”

To read the entire article, that has important implications for bloggers in the Middle East, see:

Op-Ed Contributors, ‘Blogging Ahmadinejar in Tehran’, New York Times, 30 September 2007.

Image: Blog posting.