News / Middle East

Iran Tightens Information Stream Ahead of Vote

Iran Tightens Information Stream Ahead of Votei
X
June 04, 2013 11:08 AM
With less than two weeks until Iranians head to the polls, access to news and opinion has become an issue for voters, especially those hoping to go online. VOA's Jeff Seldin takes a look at Iran's tightening grip on the flow of information

Iran Tightens Information Stream Ahead of Vote

With less than two weeks until Iranians head to the polls, access to news and opinion has become an issue for voters, especially those hoping to go online. 

Four years ago when the election results were announced in Iran, the world of social media was abuzz, with cell phone video pouring out of the country - the reformist Green Movement showing its discontent over what it saw as a fraudulent win by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

But in many ways, since then, social media activity has flatlined.

Geneive Abdo at the Washington-based Stimson Center said don't expect that to change.

“The Green movement has been crushed for the most part and people just don’t have that much of an appetite for protesting anymore,” Abdo stated.

Abdo said the reason is an aggressive regime as good as any in the world at cracking down on messengers it does not like.

“They started very sophisticated technology to filter the Internet, to intercept emails, this sort of thing. That’s how they arrested a lot of people," explained Abdo. "Because they could identify them very easily. But in recent weeks, the Internet in Iran has become so slow one newspaper lamented “The Internet is in a coma.”

That has left many Iranians - and the candidates themselves - dependent on state-run media.  Yet even there, authorities have not been afraid to intervene.

Mohammad Reza Aref, a former vice president seen by some as the leading reformist candidate, had part of his appearance cut off.

Mohsen Rezaei, a former Revolutionary Guards commander, complained parts of his first campaign-related interview had been censored.

Rezaei's campaign later used its own website to show what it claimed to be the cut-out video.

Other candidates are also finding ways to venture online, including the likely frontrunner, chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili, who has his own Twitter feed.

Still, the international concern is so great that the United States is relaxing sanctions on Iran to allow American companies to sell mobile phones - such as Apple's iPhone - software and other technology in hopes of helping Iranians skirt the censors.

Jeff Seldin

Jeff works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters covering a wide variety of subjects, from the nature of the growing terror threat in Northern Africa to China’s crackdown on Tibet and the struggle over immigration reform in the United States. You can follow Jeff on Twitter at @jseldin or on Google Plus.

You May Like

Pundits Split Over Long-Term US Role in Afghanistan

Security pact remains condition for American presence beyond 2014; deadline criticized More

US Eyes Islamic State Threat

Officials warn that IS could pose a threat to US homeland More

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Moscow says Russian troops crossed into Ukrainian territory by mistake More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocksi
X
George Putic
August 25, 2014 4:00 PM
How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that was eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports on how one band is bringing Yiddish tango to Los Angeles.
Video

Video Peace Returns to Ferguson as Community Tries to Heal

Thousands of people nationwide are expected to attend funeral services Monday in the U.S. Midwestern city of St. Louis, Missouri, for Michael Brown, the unarmed African-American teenager who was fatally shot by a white police officer August 9 in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. The shooting touched off days of violent demonstrations there, resulting in more than 100 arrests. VOA's Chris Simkins reports from Ferguson where the community is trying to move on after weeks of racial tension.
Video

Video Meeting in Minsk May Hinge on Putin Story

The presidents of Russia and Ukraine are expected to meet face-to-face Tuesday in Minsk, along with European leaders, for talks on the situation in Ukraine. Political analysts say the much welcomed dialogue could help bring an end to months of deadly clashes between pro-Russia separatists and Ukrainian forces in the country's southeast. But much depends on the actions of one man, Russian President Vladimir Putin. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Russia in July enacted a law threatening fines for publicly displayed profanity in media, films, literature, music and theater. The restriction, the toughest since the Soviet era, aims to protect the Russian language and culture and has been welcomed by those who say cursing is getting out of control. But many artists reject the move as a patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

Security services are racing to identify the Islamic State militant who beheaded U.S. journalist James Foley in Syria. The murderer spoke English on camera with a British accent. It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for the Islamic State, also called ISIL or ISIS, alongside thousands of other foreign jihadists. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from the center of the investigation in London.

AppleAndroid