Voices from Iran will be heard

deariranianpeopleIf you want to follow developments in Iran after the presidential election that took place on June 12, mainstream media reporting online and offline are the logical places to pay attention to.

Yet these are not the only places – even as the Iranian government clamps down on freedoms of expression, many voices are finding their way out from censorship and repression to show and tell what’s going on, literally at the street-view level.

These voices are being heard via social media channels like Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, Facebook and more.

Photo-sharing sites like Flickr already offer hundreds of images taken by many people on the ground in Tehran, Shiraz, Qom and other cities.

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Twitter’s probably the best place to get a sense of the speed of conversation development – far faster than the mainstream media can keep up with – via hashtags like #IranElection, the top-trending topic on Twitter as I write this post.

allcellphones We’ve already seen how social media tools can enable anyone with some kind of connection to a network – whether it’s cellular, wireless, satellite or fixed line – to get the word out in times of fast-moving events like the Mumbai terrorist attacks last November and the protests after the Moldova elections in April this year.

This is especially so when governments attempt to prevent such informal communication by disabling networks and other actions.

Among the many media stories about what’s happening in Iran, “The Revolution Will Be Twittered” by Andrew Sullivan writing in The Atlantic caught my eye because of these three simple but powerful sentences:

[…] You cannot stop people any longer. You cannot control them any longer. They can bypass your established media; they can broadcast to one another; they can organize as never before.

Whether voices like those in Iran will make any difference to anything remains to be seen, though.

But keep talking, people in Iran – we’re listening.