Bloggers are taking on Iran's mullahs and winning. In the Islamic Republic of Iran, bloggers are on the front line of the struggle for freedom. Today, there are about 80,000 bloggers in Iran living under constant threat of surveillance, harassment and imprisonment. One such blogger, Mojtaba Saminejad, 28, was arrested and tortured along with 30 others in 2004. He spent three months in solitary confinement in Iran's notorious Evin Prison. Two weeks after he was freed, he was arrested again for complaining on his blog about the mistreatment he had endured. He was held for 21 months on the charge of showing disrespect to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
We recently conducted an exclusive interview with Mr. Saminejad, translated by Ladan Yazdian. He told us Iranian blog sites have proliferated as a direct consequence of the regime's restrictions on other forms of public expression. "In Iran, people need to get a permit to publish any piece of information, including a book, an article or a song," he told us. "Therefore, with the government's total control over people's minds, it is difficult to bypass the government's numerous filters, and even more difficult to access information. Such boundaries do not exist in the blogosphere." He said blogs are "an ideal forum to express private thoughts" in a county where privacy is increasingly scarce.
The Iranian blogosphere took off in 2001 and has since faced a continually escalating war with the regime. "Monitoring all the blogs is not possible," Mr. Saminejad said, "so the government shows its frustration by imposing pressure and intimidation." Tehran began filtering Web sites, and bloggers responded with filtering countermeasures. Then bloggers were arrested, "frequently jailed for 'un-Islamic' content, which is against the national security interests of the country," so the opposition began to form closer, more cooperative ...more..
Some of the Iranian resistance is very Brave.