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Thursday, September 22, 2005

Iranian Bloggers and Collective Blogging: From a Democratic Exercise to Defend Freedom of Speech

Global Voices Online:
Iranian bloggers in last six months have started a new experience: Collective Blogging. Six months ago several bloggers from different places with diverse point of views came together and launched KHABARCHIN in Farsi. Khabarchin whose creators called it Weblog Shahr’s (shahr is City in Persian) news agency was a platform for several bloggers to collaborate together for first time.The objectives of this collective blogging were to inform people about useful links, blogs and news, to show that people with diverse opinions can create a common platform, to prove that Iranian can do a collective activity together. Khabarchin lived just six months and its members prefered to put an end to this experience. In final message Khabarchin founders say that it was a fruitful democratic experience and they prefer to stop their activity at this moment that blog is still popular. By looking at blog’s archive we see a real short news covering all kind of subjects from political prisoners and censorship to cultural events and music. One of Khabarchin’s active members was Majid Zohari who is a very active blogger in Canada.

Another collective blogging’s experience is PenLog creation. Penlog is association of Iranian blogwriters who has about 200 members/bloggers. Their main goal are to defend Iranian bloggers, to fight censorship, to promote freedom of speech on internet and to provide technical support for its members. Penlog organises discussions on Paltalk about different subjects such as censorship and methods to survive it. On Penlog we can read about arrested bloggers , Reporters without borders’ director’s interview in Persian,…. Blog is in Persian and English.

Khabarchin’s six month experience is an important experience to do collective activities. Penlog can become little by little a virtual institution to defend bloggers. On March 2005 Penlog protested arrest of blogger Omid Parvar. May be it becomes a voice for voiceless bloggers in future.

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