By Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL
Pro-reform Iranians have long complained about Iran’s filtering of the Internet and crackdown on online journalists and bloggers. Reformist and independent media have been the main target of the establishment’s Internet-control efforts that aim at disrupting the free flow of information.
Yet reports in recent months suggest that conservative media, including blogs and news websites, have also been increasingly targeted by censors. The censorship has increased in the run-up to the June 14 presidential election.
The actions have led to a rare protest by more than 100 media activists — said to be involved in managing semiofficial news agencies and conservative websites — who have criticized the increased pressure against online media.
The activists write in their statement, issued over the weekend by the semiofficial Mehr news agency, that one of the bodies in charge of media work has in recent months taken „tough“ and „unexpected“ measures against the country’s „known and official media.“
The statement adds that „multiple centers of decision making“ in cyberspace is one of the main problems media face in their online activities.
It says that for official media, being contacted by an unrelated body and ordered to remove some content or face filtering has become a „trend“ in the past year.
The signatories of the statement warn that the actions damage Iranian society’s mental health and commitment to the principle of news dissemination.
Mehr says the activists are protesting against the actions of the so-called filtering committee, which is in charge of identifying online content that should be blocked according to its criteria.
The committee has in recent weeks ordered the blocking of a number of websites, including several websites associated with Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, the top aide to President Mahmud Ahmadinejad whose application to run in the presidential race was rejected.
The committee is only one of several entities involved in Iran’s broader efforts to control online activities and enforce censorship. The main one is the Supreme Council of Cyberspace, which is an oversight body in charge of policy making.
For more on the different bodies involved in Iran’s Internet censorship, check out this graph by the Iran media program at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication.
By Charles Recknagel, RE/RL
A man registers for the Iran presidential election at the Interior Ministry in Tehran in May. He was one of hundreds who failed to make it through the strict vetting process. Now, a new Internet initiative aims to give voters more choice in a virtual online election.
Few would say that Iran’s presidential election offers a rich variety of candidates and positions. That’s because the candidates were carefully vetted ahead of the vote by the regime itself. All eight who passed had to demonstrate the highest loyalty to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and his vision of national priorities.
But on June 7 a group of Internet activists hopes to give Iranian voters a taste of what an open election feels like by launching an alternative election featuring 20 candidates. The candidates not only include the officially approved eight, but 12 more, ranging from people who failed the official vetting process to reformist leaders and political prisoners.
The alternative online vote, dubbed „We Choose — Iran Free Elections,“ concludes on June 13 with an announcement of its results, one day before Iran’s official June 14 election is held. Lies den Rest dieses Beitrags
Ein Alptraum aus 1001 Nacht? | Der Iran wählt am Freitag kommender Woche einen neuen Präsidenten. Nach zwei Amtszeiten ist für Präsidnet Achmadinedschad Schluss. Wer aber wird ihm nachfolgen? Von knapp 900 Kandidaten hat der mächtige Wächterrat nur 8 Kandidaten zur Wahl zugelassen. Sie alle gelten aus konservativ. Eine Änderung der iranischen?Außenpolitik gegenüber dem Westen ist kaum zu erwarten. Aber im Iran brodelt es. Die Menschen wollen Freiheit und sie wollen sich nicht länger gängeln lassen.
June 6, 2013
- During the televised presidential debate on culture last night, candidate Mohammed Reza Aref criticized the current government for wasting an important cultural opportunity when Asghar Farhadi, the director of the Oscar-winning film “A Separation,” gave his acceptance speech as a message of peace to the world. “We weren’t able to use this opportunity or its potential for cultural diplomacy with the world,” said Aref.
- An op-ed in Jahan News highly criticizes candidate Mohammed Reza Aref and asks, “Mr. Aref, how well do you know your cultural figures?” During the presidential debate on culture, Aref mentioned Oscar-winning director Asghar Farhadi and world-renowned Persian classical singer Mohammad Reza Shajarian. The article reveals photos of Farhadi and Shajarian shaking hands, sitting next to each other, and cheek-kissing unveiled women, which is frowned upon in the eyes of the Islamic Republic.
- Asr-Iran has conducted it latest poll and asks its readers, “No matter who you want to vote for, after watching the second debate regarding culture and society, which candidate in your opinion sounded the most logical and practical (about culture)?” As of Thursday afternoon, over 65,000 people voted and overwhelmingly chose Hassan Rouhani as he led with 57%. Coming in second was Mohammed Reza Aref with 15%, and Mohsen Rezaei following him with 12%. All the other candidates had 5% or less.
- Tabnak posts a set of photos of Mohsen Rezaei campaigning in the city of Shahrekord in the Bakhtiari province. Large amounts of supporters came out to hear his speech in the main square where Rezaei pledged to diversify Iran’s economy and wean it off oil revenues if elected president.
- Campaigning for village and local city councils around Iran began today. There are over 126,000 seats up for grab around the country.
- BBC Persian has filmed a new documentary about the presidency of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad titled, “The Man with the Spring Coat.” The documentary provides an in-depth look of all aspects of his tenure as the president of Iran, such as his populist agenda both inside and outside of Iran, Iran’s nuclear program, domestic political infighting, the disputed 2009 presidential race, and other interesting topics.
- Fars News posts two sets of photos of ordinary Iranians campaigning in public streets for their respective candidates. Voters are passing out flyers and posters to other perspective voters in cars and on sidewalks.
- YJC.IR (Young Journalists Club) English reports that activist Bahman Sharifzadeh is still holding out for President Ahmadinejad’s right-hand-man Esfandiar Rahim-Mashaei to be allowed to run in the presidential election. Sharifzadeh said, „We will not lose hope until the last moment that Mashaei may appear on the electoral scene. As Mr. Ahmadinejad said we will not lose hope until the last moment, because there is some basis to our hope.”
- YJC.IR News posts photos of the presidential candidates in the “green room” preparing before last night’s debate, as well as a series of photos of ordinary Iranians watching the debates on television. YJC.IR News also posted a series of photos shot around the Khorasan province of candidate Mohammed Bagher Qalibaf’s campaign promotions.
- On a Facebook page created for Mohammed Reza Aref, a short video clip is posted that shows Aref during a television interview explaining why “he is worried and upset.” He describes his vast experience in government and says, “I am worried for the children that we had a revolution for (in 1979), I am worried about the relationship between the first and second generation of the revolution, and I am worried about the advancement of this country.”
- THE PROCESS
- FROM INITIAL MANEUVERS TO FORMAL CANDIDACY
- FORMAL DECLARATIONS AND GUARDIAN COUNCIL VETTING
- CAMPAIGNING AND VOTE
- THE FACTIONS
- THE SUPREME LEADER’S CAMP
- THE PRINCIPLIST COMMITTEE OF FIVE
- THE AHMADINEJAD CAMP
- THE ENDURANCE FRONT
- THE RAFSANJANI CAMP
- OTHER CONSERVATIVES AND PRINCIPLISTS
- THE REFORMIST CAMP
The Iranian Presidential election takes place in three anchors: one unofficial and two official, leading to the vote on 14 June.
Months of maneuvering for position preceded the hopefuls‘ formal declaration of their intention to stand this week.
This year, the jockeying has involved tensions between the 2+1 coalition — which has sought but so far not decided upon a „unity“ candidate — and the more than 20 presidential hopefuls, including many conservatives and principlists, who have declared their aspiration to stand. By April, no less than seven different factions had emerged.
The first official anchor of the election is from 7-11 May, when presidential hopefuls formally register their names for consideration by the Guardian Council.
The Guardian Council — which consists of 12 members, six experts in Islamic law — reviews all the submissions. It rules on the suitability of candidates according to qualifications, standing under Islam, loyalty to the Islamic Republic, and suitability for office. In 2009, the Council approved only four men — Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Mir Hossein Mousavi, Mehdi Karroubi, and Mohsen Rezaei — for the June election. This powerful group of jurists and clergy are is expected to make its final decision on the list of candidates by May 23, leaving little time for campaigning. Lies den Rest dieses Beitrags
Presidential candidate Hassan Rouhani criticises State broadcaster IRIB
Mehr News reports this morning that the Electoral Campaign Regulatory Body has censored parts of Presidential candidate Saeed Jalili’s latest campaign video:
The news is the latest apparent incident of state censorship of candidates — either directly by blocking websites or editing footage of speeches — since campaigning began. The censorship has affected principlist candidates loyal to the Supreme Leader — notably Jalili but also former IRGC commander Mohsen Rezaei — as well as moderate candidate Rouhani.
Moderate candidate Hassan Rouhani has spoken out against Iran’s State broadcaster IRIB, which he said prevented candidates from presenting their policies and opinions properly.
Presidential candidate Rezaei complained that his website was temporary blocked and that parts of a televised campaign speech — specifically, a story he told about a man whose family was affected by unemployment — was edited out.
The televised speech of Reformist candidate Mohammad-Reza Aref was similarly censored. Lies den Rest dieses Beitrags
By Omid Irani
With the Iranian presidential elections visible on the near horizon, the people of Iran and the wider international community watch eagerly to see who will assume the ranks as the next ostensible leader of Iran. Outgoing president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is reluctant to ride off into the sunset graciously and quietly, creating an interesting backdrop within the larger canvas of Iranian presidential politics. Wasting no time, the candidates vetted and cleared to run along with those individuals barred from running have already exchanged sharp words about the differing ideologies, policies, and tactics that will undeniably saturate the larger discourse covering Iranian politics. Trying to parse through the various oscillating campaign promises and rhetorical talking points of the different candidates can be truly a tall task to undertake for participating voters in Iran. Naturally, the prospect of returning to the ballot boxes for such a high-profile election for the first time since the notorious 2009 elections is still fresh on every Iranian’s mind and will surely prove too daunting for some as the flashbacks of the bloody aftermath have already prompted some individuals to boycott this year’s election.
Which candidate will be in a better position to weaken the Supreme Leader? Which will be less detrimental in terms of economic mismanagement? And which candidate less dangerous than the others in terms of brazen violations of human rights and civil liberties?
The mass uprising after the electoral coup of 2009, which came to be known as the Green Movement, involved a wide-ranging array of secular, left, liberal, and moderate religious elements. It was defeated mainly because of the unbelievably brutal suppression of the activists, which included killing, maiming, and raping arrested protesters. But the movement’s leadership also played a role. Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karoobi were both establishment figures; while they sought reforms, they did not want to challenge the regime in its totality. And the fact that the members of street movements failed to link up with workers and employees who had the power to shut down factories and other institutions as they had done during the Iranian Revolution of 1979, also contributed to this failure.
The situation is much worse for the democratic forces in Iran for this round of presidential elections than was the case in 2009. This is true despite the fact that the ruling cliques’ infighting has reached an unprecedented level, anddifferent groups of the “Principlists” (ultra-right religious fundamentalists) who were united against the Islamist reformists during the last elections, are now openly fighting each other. The leadership hopes to prevent the election of any candidate that would not be loyal and subservient to the Supreme Leader. The manipulation of the electoral process in the Islamic Republic is now a long-standing tradition that takes place in two stages. Firstly, candidates must be approved by the twelve member Guardianship Council (appointed by the Supreme Leader). Secondly, when the electoral process starts, they mobilize a sophisticated machinery to ensure their favoured candidates’ emerge as victors when the polls close, either by actual or fabricated votes. Lies den Rest dieses Beitrags
Oberster Führer Ali Khamenei will jegliche Unruhen im Keim ersticken
Teheran/Wien – Im Iran wurden die Sicherheitsvorkehrungen drei Wochen vor der elften Präsidentschaftswahl am 14. Juni deutlich verschärft. Nachdem von insgesamt 686 Bewerbern letztlich nur acht überwiegend konservative Kandidaten durch den Wächterrat approbiert wurden, hat der Oberste Geistliche Führer Ali Khamenei alle Hände voll zu tun, eine Erklärung für die umstrittene Entscheidung durch das Selektionsgremium vorzubereiten. Dabei muss Khamenei auch kundtun, ob er die Entscheidung des Wächterrates korrigieren wird oder nicht.
Rafsanjani darf nicht kandidieren
Geschockt ist das Land nicht nur, weil der Schützling des scheidenden Präsidenten Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, keine Zulassung erhielt, sondern eher, weil einer der Politveteranen der Islamischen Revolution, Ex-Präsident Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, der Chef des über dem Wächterrat stehenden Expertenrat ist, ebenfalls abgelehnt wurde. Die acht approbierten sind Ex-Parlamentspräsident Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel, Atomunterhändler Saeed Jalili, der Sekretär des Schlichtungsrates Mohsen Rezaei, Ex-Atomunterhändler Hassan Rohani, Ex-Vizepräsident Mohammad-Reza Aref, der Teheraner Bürgermeister Mohammad-Bagher Ghalibaf, Ex-Telekommunikationsminister Mohammad Gharazi und Ex-Außenminister Ali-Akbar Velayati.
In der Hauptstadt Teheran wurden seit Dienstagabend, jenem Zeitpunkt, wo die Kandidaten bekannt gegeben worden waren, mehrere zusätzliche mobile Militär- und Kontrollposten installiert. Die Revolutionsgarden und die paramilitärischen Bassijmilizen sind laut Augenzeugenberichten omnipräsent. Die Botschaft an die Bevölkerung ist klar: Jeglicher Widerstand gegen das System, wie es ihn nach der umstrittenen Wiederwahl des scheidenden Präsidenten Mahmoud Ahmadinejad 2009 in Form von monatelangen Straßenprotesten gab, wird im Keim erstickt.
Warnungen vor „unüberlegten Schritten“
Zusätzlich zur personellen Aufstockung der Sicherheitskräfte in allen großen Städten des Landes strahlen die staatlichen Medien quasi im Stundentakt Warnungen an die Bevölkerung aus. Die Auswahl durch den Wächterrats, heißt es, sei zu respektieren und die Bürger sollten ja keine „unüberlegten Schritte“ tun. Irans Justizchef Sadegh Larijani hat zudem angekündigt, dass die Sicherheitskräfte und die Justiz mit aller Härte gegen „Störenfriede aller Art“ vorgehen würden.
Selbst der Wahlkampf der acht Kandidaten, der ab Samstag beginnt und bis 24 Stunden vor dem Urnengang andauert, wurde genau geregelt. TV-Duelle, die live ausgestrahlt werden, sind untersagt. Alle TV-Konfrontationen werden im Voraus aufgezeichnet. Die Kandidaten bekommen je 10 Stunden Sendezeit in den Medien, sechs im TV und vier im Radio, um ihr Programm zu präsentieren.
Die acht approbierten sind Ex-Parlamentspräsident Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel, Atomunterhändler Saeed Jalili, der Sekretär des Schlichtungsrates Mohsen Rezaei, Ex-Atomunterhändler Hassan Rohani, Ex-Vizepräsident Mohammad-Reza Aref, der Teheraner Bürgermeister Mohammad-Bagher Ghalibaf, Ex-Telekommunikationsminister Mohammad Gharazi und Ex-Außenminister Ali-Akbar Velayati.
Kandidaten nutzen soziale Netzwerke – die eigentlich blockiert sind.
Twitter, Facebook und YouTube galten nach den Wahlen 2009 als Revier der Protestbewegung. Jener jungen Iraner, die gegen den angeblichen Wahlbetrug der Konservativen demonstrierten. Dort formierten sie sich, dort verbreiteten sie Bilder von Verletzten und Toten, dort machten sie die Welt auf die Gewalt aufmerksam, die von den Mächtigen im Land ausging.
Seitdem sind die sozialen Netzwerke im Iran blockiert. Doch – und das weiß jeder – man kann sie immer aufrufen, wenn man die Internetsperre umgeht. So macht das auch einer der Kandidaten, die dem Ayatollah Ali Khamenei nahestehen. Mit dem Hashtag#WhyVote4Jalili meldet sich seit einigen Tagen der erzkonservative iranische Atom-Unterhändler Said Dschalili zu Wort. Auch der Oberste Geistliche Führer Khamenei hat ein Twitter-Konto. Ob die jungen Iraner so für die Wahlen mobilisiert werden, bleibt dahingestellt.
Geht man nach einem Teil der iranischen Medien, dann kommt es bei der Präsidentschaftswahl am 14. Juni zu einem Kopf-an-Kopf-Rennen zwischen Ex-Präsident Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsandjani und Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, einem Günstling von Staatschef Ahmadinejad. Aber auch die von Khamenei unterstützten Kandidaten werden mitmischen: Ex-Außenminister Ali Velayati, der Teheraner Bürgermeister Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf und Dschalili.