Iran -- when blogging means risking your life and freedom
Iranian bloggers are giving the government a headache, and suffering beatings and imprisonment as a result. Don't forget how many countries in the world find bloggers to be dangerous. That's why we can never let the UN get their hands on the internet. Meantime, our own government is putting the screws to us bloggers by making us subject to the odious and unconsitutional McCain/Feingold campaign finance law. Access to the internet is going to lead to revolutionary changes the world over, and even the politicians in democratic countries are quaking in their boots. Power to the people, indeed!! Let's not forget these bloggers who risk their lives in other countries and let's be grateful for the freedoms we still have in this country. That's why those of us who have families that came from communist countries are more sensitive than many to the fact that it's easier to lose your rights than to try to regain them after they are lost.
Telegraph | News | Iran's war on weblogs - the new voice of dissidents
Iran is fighting a constant battle against dissenters who are using the internet to voice criticism of the Islamic Republic and to push for freedom and democracy.
With the closure of most independent newspapers and magazines in Iran, blogging - publishing an online diary - has become a powerful tool in the dissidents' arsenal by providing individuals with a public voice.
An Iranian blogger known as Saena, wrote recently: "Weblogs are one weapon that even the Islamic Republic cannot beat."
There are an estimated 100,000 active blogs written by Iranians both within the country and across the diaspora. Persian ties with French as the second most common blogging language after English.
Over the last year, however, Iranian authorities have arrested and beaten dozens of bloggers, charged with crimes such as espionage and insulting leaders of the Islamic Republic. Among them is Omid Sheikhan, who last month was sentenced to one year in prison and 124 lashes of the whip for writing a blog that featured satirical cartoons of Iranian politicians.
The press freedom organisation Reporters Without Borders last week named Iran as one of 15 countries who were "enemies of the internet".
"These new measures point to an ideological hardening in the Iranian government and a desire by the new president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, to centralise authority," its report said.
Nevertheless, Iranians are increasingly turning to blogs and those who can publish their words in English hope they will reach a wider international audience and alert them to the problems facing free-thinkers within Iran.