REVOLUTION DECODED: IRAN’S DIGITAL MEDIA LANDSCAPE

Is Iran in 2014 a country enjoying a technology boom, whose citizens are using a wide array of social media platforms to build vibrant online communities? A nation producing a wealth of challenging and risqué literature, while enjoying cultural imports beamed in from around the world?

Or is it a country with a tech sector choked off by corruption, underinvestment, and global sanctions? A nation whose citizens are constantly monitored and harassed, and where “immoral” literature is banned, foreign TV is jammed, and Islamic ideology is promoted at every turn?

Iran’s digital revolution has granted its citizens unprecedented freedoms and opportunities, but it has also handed the state sweeping new powers of control and surveillance.

Our new report explores the social, cultural and political impacts of Iran’s new digital reality.

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Tensions and ambiguities in Iranian media law

Though political Islam sits at the core of Iranian state ideology, its employment as a basis for media governance and regulation has proven to be problematic, and deeply contentious.

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Internet censorship in Iran: preventative, interceptive, and reactive

The Iranian authorities adopt a triangulated approach to internet censorship and surveillance. Preventative, interceptive, and reactive measures are intertwined and form a coherent overall strategy for internet control.

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The revolution will be televised: state and satellite TV in Iran

Incapable of keeping satellite TV out of Iran, Iranian authorities and state TV executives are now borrowing from global entertainment formats, and injecting them with ‘Islamic values’.

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Identity Politics: Online Communities in iran

Online platforms have opened up spaces for marginalised and niche groups to organise. Although the government attempts to filter and control online spaces, it is ultimately unable to control the parameters of online debate.

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Writer’s block: Iranian literary censorship and diaspora publishing

Free from the obligation to have texts vetted by hard-nosed censors, online diaspora publishers have provided Iranian writers with a means of escaping the tight confines of the domestic market, and connect them with a worldwide readership.

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Fiber optics and the Iranian future

Communications technology has helped alleviate some of the most difficult challenges faced by certain segments of Iranian society, but it can only do so much. Technology alone can’t bring down the government, nor cure an ailing economy.

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