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Internet Importance In Iranian Elections

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Blogs seem to be everywhere anymore, at least on the Internet. What kind of effect do they really have though? They get used to discuss literally everything. But, during the current Iranian election process, blogs have provided something much more fundamental, free speech.

Discussions on the power of blogs as marketing and PR tools have become quite relevant. We utilize a number of blogs here at WebProNews and they provide great information about trends in business and industry.

During the 2004 presidential election cycle, blogs really started showing up. Heck, I even have my own political blog I rant on from time to time. But really, watching the Iranian election and knowing the blogosphere played a major role in the election process and the dissemination of information is fascinating.

Right now Iran is hybrid democracy/theocracy. The people get to vote on the candidates for president but the candidates all have to be approved by the ruling theocrats headed by the Ayatollah. The media is fairly restrictive and as some government officials have commented recently, it’s been very difficult to really find out what the people are really thinking and whether or not the policies they put forth are really effective.

Blogs in Iran are changing that. They’ve given a voice to masses that hasn’t been heard for a long time. The blogvasion has been driven predominantly by the youth vote in Iran, where the voting age is 15. They discussed issues like foreign policy, cultural influences, government reform and a whole host of other topics. They can’t talk about dating a girl but they can and do talk about politics.

The outcome of the election has yet to be determined. Front-runner Rafsanjani only picked up 20% of the vote. 50% must be acquired to avoid the runoff. This has been an incredibly close election and been very difficult to predict with no assured winner. Much of this comes from the free speech realized on blogs.

In this country and much of the western world, people can say pretty much want they want and have been able to for most in recent memory. This is something new for much of the middle-eastern culture, especially one deemed so “undemocratic” by most of our political leaders.

The Internet has always been an exciting frontier with new innovations and technologies showing up everyday. New ways to search or the newest dual core processor are certainly important. These things help drive the business and make things like blogs possible. But, it really pales in comparison as the real benefit of the Internet is realized and that is a free and open forums to discuss ideas and thoughts, even when you can’t speak of them in public.

Right now, a fuss has been made of restrictions in China that Microsoft, Yahoo, Google and others have to abide by to do business there. But it won’t stay that way for ever. Remember, “the times they are a changin’.”

John Stith is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

Internet Importance In Iranian Elections
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