February 20, 2004
Blogging the Iranian Election

Today is Election Day in Iran — the culmination of a political crisis that began when 2,300 reformist candidates were disqualified for standing for election by the “Council of Guardians”, which is currently controlled by conservative, fundamentalist elements of the government. The reformists are protesting that this makes the election unfair, and calling for a boycott, but they have been in charge since 2000 and have lost much of their popular support, so the general Iranian public doesn’t seem to care much one way or the other. So what exactly is going to happen tomorrow, as the election goes forward under disputed legitimacy, is anyone’s guess. (The BBC has a good overview of the situation, if you’re interested.)

In response to all this, Hossein Derakhshan, an Iranian expatriate currently living in Toronto, has set up an online aggregator to pull together blog reports from Iran of events “on the ground” during the vote. Iranians have taken to blogs in a big way, mostly because of the tight state control over traditional media, so Derakhshan’s hoping to use this trend to help get a sense for what’s really happening in his native land. Will Iranian bloggers feel free enough to tell us what’s really happening? If the conservatives win, will they remain free enough to continue to do so? It should be an interesting experiment. [Seen on Joi Ito’s Web]

Posted by Jason Lefkowitz at February 20, 2004
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