Iran Protests via Twitter, CNN Is Silent
Twitter, Facebook, live-blogging: they're no longer just social media networks. Instead, they're becoming legitimate sources of news information where ordinary people can not only participate in the reportage of news stories, but make headlines as well.
On June 13th, incumbent Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad defeated Mir Hossein Mousavi in a landslide victory characterized voting irregularities and claims of fraud. The controversial reelection of the controversial Ahmadinejad has allegedly, and unsurprisingly, sparked nationwide protests and large-scale reports of cellular and Internet service failures.
Iranians have taken to Twitter to chronicle the situation from inside the country, but any sort of consistent, large-scale news report has been difficult to come by. ReadWriteWeb wrote, "Hours after Iranian police began clashing with tens of thousands of people in the street, the top story on CNN.com remains peoples' confusion about the switch from analog TV signals." Slashdot notes that, "Twitter is providing better coverage than CNN at the moment." With hash tags rapidly being coined (from "#CNNFail" to "#IranElection"), videos being posted to YouTube, and Iranians flooding Reddit, the news is surfacing, however spottily. The Iranian government blocked both Facebook and text-messaging on Saturday, forcing Iranians to use hard-to-trace Web services like GoogleTalk and Twitter.
What has become remarkably clear here is that, even with strong government regulation, Web services allow for dissident Iranian voices. As a result, the world has come to realize that many of Iran's citizens yearn for free elections, contrary to what their leaders would have us believe. This morning, CNN finally broke its radio silence with a story called "Tear gas and Twitter." The lag may be, as the New York Times suggests, a crucial moment, not only for Iranians, but for Web users, as well. Real-time, democratically produced live-blogging is quickly becoming a valid alternative to large-scale, "legitimate" news outlets. [From: ReadWriteWeb, via NYTimes.com]