Hard-line cleric blames social media for fueling Iran protests, unrest

Jan 9, 2018

By Jon Gambrell

A hard-line cleric leading Friday prayers in Iran’s capital called on the Islamic Republic to build its own social media, blaming popular international messaging apps for the unrest that accompanied days of protests over the country’s flagging economy.

The demonstrations began on Dec. 28 and quickly spread across the country, prompting the government to suspend access to the messaging app Telegram, which was being used to publicize the protests, and briefly block the Instagram photo-sharing site. Twitter and Facebook were already banned.

With travel restricted across Iran, a nation of 80 million people roughly two-and-a-half times the size of Texas, online videos and images posted by activists have provided some of the only glimpses into the demonstrations, the largest in nearly a decade, which have mainly been held in the provinces.

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4 comments on “Hard-line cleric blames social media for fueling Iran protests, unrest

  • @OP – A hard-line cleric leading Friday prayers in Iran’s capital called on the Islamic Republic to build its own social media, blaming popular international messaging apps for the unrest that accompanied days of protests over the country’s flagging economy.

    Bearing in mind what happened in Libya, Syria, Egypt, and other countries where propaganda driven protests, turned into foreign armed revolts and civil wars which tried to manipulate political realignments and regime change, he is probably right to some extent!

    Manipulative media trolls are a current political weapon!

    That does not mean that there are no real underlying needs for modernisation and reform!



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  • The real threat is the huge popularity of Al Jazeera that outrageously publishes the facts and reasonable opinion from experts. It is making government/clerical propaganda increasingly ineffective.



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  • phil rimmer #2
    Jan 9, 2018 at 11:48 am

    The real threat is the huge popularity of Al Jazeera that outrageously publishes the facts and reasonable opinion from experts.
    It is making government/clerical propaganda increasingly ineffective.

    . . . . . . and coming under attack from those government and clerical propagandists as a result!

    https://www.theguardian.com/media/2017/jul/01/demand-al-jazeera-closure-shows-how-much-enemies-fear-it

    On 23 June, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt subjected Qatar to unprecedented diplomatic and economic sanctions, followed by an aggressive blockade and threats of further action if Qatar fails to meet a list of 13 demands, one of which is to shut down the al-Jazeera network.

    If Doha capitulates – and there are no signs it will – it will effectively have lost its sovereignty and become a vassal state of Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Yet defying the deadline could lead to regime change in Qatar, or even war.

    Whatever happens, it is a credit to al-Jazeera that, 21 years after its launch, it is still so disruptive and challenging to those in power. Few other media outlets can claim to be so influential. But al-Jazeera is not like other broadcasters. It is a unique phenomenon which, since it started broadcasting in 1996, has revolutionised the Arab media, and in 2010 played a major role in bringing about a real political revolution across much of the Arab world.

    Before al-Jazeera started broadcasting, Arab television news was totalitarian drivel. The news chiefly focused on what the sheikh, emir or president was doing that day, some news about his heir, and a puff piece about how lucky the nation was to have such heroic father figures. Al-Jazeera blew all this away, allowing all kinds of previously banned voices to be heard, from the Israelis and Muammar Gaddafi to Chechen rebels, the Taliban and Osama bin Laden.



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  • With jihadists, inter-religious wars, and sponsored terrorism, it seems that some think the priority need for fighting “moral corruption”, should be focussed on women’s hair styles!

    @OP – With travel restricted across Iran, a nation of 80 million people roughly two-and-a-half times the size of Texas,
    online videos and images posted by activists have provided some of the only glimpses into the demonstrations,
    the largest in nearly a decade, which have mainly been held in the provinces.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-43329896

    An Iranian woman who publicly removed her veil to protest against a mandatory hijab law has been sentenced to two years in prison, prosecutors say.

    The woman, who has not been officially named, was found guilty of “encouraging moral corruption”, Tehran prosecutor Abbas Jafari-Dolatabadi said.

    He added that 21 months of the woman’s sentence had been suspended and that she was in need of medical treatment.

    It follows dozens of similar arrests of Iranian women in recent weeks.

    Most of those detained for defying the country’s strict law on appearing in public in a headscarf have been released without charge.

    The woman sentenced in the capital, Tehran, on Wednesday was jailed for three months without parole.

    She is “in need of long-term medical treatment and has to be seen by a psychiatrist”, Mr Jafari-Dolatabadi said.

    On the other hand, if he can’t cope with looking at women’s hair, – HE may be the one in need of being seen by a psychiatrist!

    He criticised the suspension of the majority of her sentence and argued that she should serve the full term of her penalty.

    In December, an Iranian woman who was detained after defiantly taking off her headscarf and holding it on a stick in Tehran became the face of protests in the country.

    Images of her standing on a telecoms box in a busy street in the city were widely shared on social media. The woman was later freed.

    The photograph of the woman was first widely used in connection to the White Wednesday campaign in which women in Iran wear white to protest against the country’s strict dress code.

    Since the Iranian revolution in 1979, women have been forced to cover their hair according to Islamic law on modesty.



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