Radio Reaches Iran

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iranUntil the tempestuous events of the recent Iranian election, Holland-based Radio Zamaneh was an alternative station that was more likely to have interviews with Iranian cultural icons, underground music and alternative literature.  In the wake of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s contested victory, politics have become central to the content, as noted by  The Jakarta Post:

Now [Radio Zamaneh] is one of the few Persian-language sources of unfiltered information for Iranians whose access to news has been strictly controlled by the regime since mass protests erupted over the alleged rigging of June 12 presidential elections.

Since its launch in 2006, Radio Zamaneh has targeted young urban Iranians inhabiting the blogosphere; the postelection crackdown prompted its reporters to step up its use of Facebook, Twitter, blogs and cell phones for information.

An Iranian diplomat, summoned to the Foreign Ministry in The Hague to receive a protest against the treatment of demonstrators, accused the Dutch government of meddling in Iran’s internal affairs and complained it was financing “propaganda” by Radio Zamaneh.

Everybody has seen the news about social media — Twitter in particular — being used to get info out of the country. Little has been said about providing information to those within the Iranian border. Using social media for this can have comparatively little effect with the countermeasures against digital connectivity that the government is enacting. Radio requires no Internet connection, only a tiny and inexpensive receiver.

So, here we see the classic strength of radio combined with the cutting edge social technologies of the modern digital landscape. The simple and ubiquitous broadcast signal is used to reach the broadest possible audience without hindrance while the station uses social media to gather real time life streams of events within the lockdown.

Freedom of information is democratizing. Today’s fusion of traditional broadcast radio and social technologies is a potent weapon in the fight for that freedom.

Photo courtesy of misterarasmus, used under its Creative Commons license

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