Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Getting around censorship in Iran

On 17 and 19 Jan, the Frontline Club (see here) screened Red Lines and Deadlines, a film about the Tehran newspaper Shargh, which manages to publish critical material and still survive, unlike about one hundred other reformist newspapers and publications which have been closed down in the last year or two.

A lively and insightful film although perhaps it tried to cover too much.

I attended the 17 Jan screening and an interesting point came up the discussion afterwards (the screening was crammed with mostly UK-based Iranians and hard bitten British journalists).

A member of the audience said that since the film had been made, Shargh's editor had written an editorial critical of the campaign to have a national referendum on democracy in Iran.

The web site calling for this ( is, it seems, blocked inside Iran. So Shargh's editor found himself obliged to reproduce the text of it in his newspaper - just to show how bad it was, of course.

In this way, a large number of Iranians who otherwise would have had difficulty seeing the text were able to do so.

[(Not so) strangely, there may be wheels within wheels: reportedly, Shargh's policy board and the foundation that supports it have links to ex-president Rafsanjani.]

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