Iranian media crackdown prompts Tweets and blogs
Government tries to cut flow of information, but citizen journalists find ways to fill the gap. One blogger claims: 'Tiananmen + Twitter = Tehran'.
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As protests against Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's declared electoral victory continue in cities across Iran and the Iranian government cracks down on media coverage, Iranians are using Twitter and blogs to spread information about events on the gorund there.
Over the weekend, following the Iranian government's announcement of Mr. Ahmadinejad's proclaimed landslide victory over challenger Mir Hussein Mousavi, protesters flooded the streets of Tehran and other Iranian cities. The Iranian government then moved to shut down foreign reporting, according to niacINsight, the blog of the National Iranian American Council, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization. The NIAC wrote at 4:35 p.m. on Sunday that "NBC and ABC have had their cameras and film confiscated. BBC has been ordered out of the country."
Indeed, a broadcast by John Simpson, of BBC, shows that the foreign press have had to become more discreet in their reporting – much of the video in the broadcast appears to be shot from a camera hidden in a bag. But the video also shows the crowd chasing off a member of the secret police who tried to shut down the BBC's cameras. In a press release, Reporters Without Borders chastised the Iranian government's censorship and called upon the world, and European nations in particular, not to recognize the announced election results.
As a result of the Iranian government's attempts at censorship, much of the best first-hand information out of Iran is coming via the blogosphere. Several bloggers, like Andrew Sullivan of The Atlantic and Nico Pitney of The Huffington Post , have been live-blogging the events of the election.