Speaking at a conference of Islamic countries'
national radio and TV networks, Iran's President Mahmud Ahmadinejad recently
said that the media are the main tool Western powers use to overthrow other
governments. "Nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons are just a distraction.
Today, the enemy's main weaponry is the media," he said.
Ahmadinejad is right in his recognition of the media's crucial role. The heavily manipulated Iranian presidential election of June 12, in which the authorities hastily declared him the winner, could not have sparked massive nationwide protests without information and communication between those millions of people who felt that their votes had gone astray.
But Ahmadinejad's fellow Iranian citizens will have a hard time comprehending the wisdom of blaming Western media for reporting about an election that was intended to whitewash the regime, but which ultimately shattered its legitimacy because information about the manipulation of the vote could not be suppressed as it used to be in the "good old times." Now Ahmadinejad and his main mentor, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, primarily rely on rule by force -- that of the Revolutionary Guards and Basij.
It is true that for years the Tehran regime has
been jamming and blocking U.S.- or U.K.-funded radio and TV stations such as
Radio Farda, Voice of America, and the BBC, and their websites. Filtering of the
Internet was extended to Facebook and Twitter a few months before June 12. But
how would Ahmadinejad explain the fact that well before the election, the
authorities also started to ban reformist and relatively independent newspapers
and to close their websites? And shortly before the election, they started
disrupting the whole SMS messaging system and later almost all mobile phone
systems that could enable Iranian citizens to communicate "politically
dangerous" information to one another.
Start Spreading The News
A listener from the central Iranian city of Isfahan complained to me last June that Radio Farda did not immediately report a protest action they had staged in front of Isfahan University. "We stage the protest meeting during the day and sit in the evening of the same day to hear the news about it from Radio Farda and watch it on BBC Persian TV," he said. "We will win only if the news is spread and more people are drawn into the protests."
After 30 years of the Islamic republic, millions of Iranians finally dared to speak out and to go out on to the street to protest. From radio and TV to the Internet and mobile phones, all platforms of communication still available decisively helped, and still help Iranians challenge the regime.
... Payvand News - 10/13/09 ... --