Category: Media Activism

Iranian Blogger Could Face Death Sentence


Written by The Media Line Staff
Published Wednesday, November 19, 2008
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(TML Photos)
An Iranian blogger has been arrested in Iran and charged with spying for Israel. He could face the death penalty if found guilty.
Hossein Derakhshan, known around the world as the father of the Iranian blogosphere, was recently arrested upon returning to Iran from Canada.
Jahan News, an Iranian website affiliated with Iran’s intelligence community, reported on Monday that he admitted to spying for Israel.
Derakhshan, a 33-year-old secular Iranian, has been living in Toronto for the past seven years and holds Canadian citizenship. It was in Toronto that he started writing his blog, Hoder, in both English and Persian.
Derakhshan has participated in many international forums as a representative of the younger Iranian generation. Observers have noted a tougher tone in his writing over the past couple of years, in that he has been more supportive of the regime in Tehran.
Derakhshan has appeared in numerous news reports providing an Iranian point of view and expressing support for Iran’s controversial nuclear program. During a visit to Israel in 2007, where he participated in a conference about bloggers in the Middle East, Derakhshan told The Media Line he was trying to fill the gap between local media and international media, which he said gave a biased and simplistic point of view of Iran. His trip to Israel was widely reported in his blog and in the Israeli media. “I came to Israel because I wanted to show the Iranians a more realistic image of this country and its people and without my Persian blog, I would have not been able to do this,” he told The Media Line at the time.
He said the Iranian government was foolish not to allow him to go back there. “People like me are defending the country; we are defending the culture, and in a way, even the Islamic Revolution,” he said. “I would love to have the opportunity to be able to go back to Iran again after I have been to Israel, and make this contact between Iranian and Israelis, which is my project, bypassing the governments and making this contact between the two peoples.” Two years ago, Derakhshan did not express any concern about being arrested.
“Blogging in Iran is not something that gets you into trouble now. It’s a mainstream thing, because religious people, pro-government people have blogs and secular, totally rationalistic people also have blogs,” he said.
He said he had a feeling he could write the English version of his blog from Iran, including criticism of Iranian leaders and impressions from Israel, as long as he toned down the language and did not make it too provocative.
The reason for his returning to Iran is unclear.


2010 rights watch – Fifa restricting civil rights

Fifa Stadium restricts civil rights

Fifa Stadium restricts civil rights

A DRACONIAN Cape Town City Bylaw could outlaw indoor gatherings of more than 50 people where microphones, Ipods, and and ghetto blasters are used and if the result is amplified sound , even if the event happens in the comfort of your living room, consider it an offence without a license.

The proposed new bylaw is intended to force events organisers to apply for licenses to host “musicians, poets and entertainers”, while regulating an environment in which businesss-in-exchange-for-favours is the order of the day. The City plans to clean-up the boho inner city strip of Long Street and other entertainment areas, forcing promoters of “educational, cultural and religious events” to give-up a percentage of their takings in exchange for mutually beneficial “partnerships”, and the bylaw has thus set in motion a regulatory mechanism intended to create a “return on investment” from both public and private facilities, and covers outdoor and indoor events of every description in Cape Town.

Telkom frauding consumers on Internet dailup

Hellkom is a reality!

Hellkom is a reality!

READING blogs about the saga involving Telkom’s insistance that Internet dialup during callmore time’s “FREE local and long distance calls of up to an hour per call” is not included in the “terms and conditions” of the ordinary landline contract, is like watching roadkill on the information highway as consumers get run-down by multinational corporate communications staff who think a R900pm phone bill is par for the course.

As an ordinary consumer, just wanting to experience a little bit of the net, in my own time, on a budget and on my own terms, I’m flabbergasted at this blatant denial of consumer rights.

Fortunately this country has some progressive legislation when it comes to telecommunications, and I would be extremely interested in seeing how Telkom manages to explain all this away with regards to contract:

a) They are not providing me with Internet Service, which I have purchased from a third party.

b) There is no connection between the contract I signed and the terms and conditions as they are being applied. Hell, there is no definition of modem or data, and absolutely no mention of the word “internet”.

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Sign the Media Carta

The following statement is reproduced from I urge you to assist us all those struggling greater diversity in media communication by signing, details below – DRL

“We, the undersigned, are troubled by the way information flows and the way meaning is produced in our society.

WE HAVE LOST CONFIDENCE in what we are seeing, hearing and reading: too much infotainment and not enough news; too many outlets telling the same stories; too much commercialism and too much hype. Every day, this commercial information system distorts our view of the world.

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CTV – the community-access tv station finally on air

CAPE TOWN TV (CTV) is officially on air! After successive years in which the station was promised a licence, almost drowned in red-tape and shafted by large corporates and the national broadcaster, the community-access channel has finally succeeded in overcoming the technical and financial obstacles that have stood in the way of an actual broadcast and is now transmitting programming to the people of Cape Town.

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Ombudsman Shambles as press dodge accusations of xeno-aprobia

Joe Thloloe, embattled press ombud accused of xenophobia

Joe Thloloe, embattled press ombud accused of xenophobia

THE controversy over South Africa’s corporate press ombud continues, with new allegations of xenophobia by the Media Monitoring Project whose application to the independent structure was turned down. MMP complained about the use of the term “Alien” to describe refugees, immigrants and non-nationals. The logic used to deny the MMP redress is curious to say the least. According to Joe Thloloe, it was the applicant who was confused about the use of the term, and editors have every right to be xenophobic.

This writer is not in the least bit surprised at the decision, since a complaint made in 2007 concerning defamatory comments and false statements made by a Cape Times journalist* was also turned down on the basis that the applicant (DRL) had no civil rights as such and could not expect any leeway or agreement as to the mandate of the ombud viz vi, the Bill of Rights in particular articles 15 and 16. At the time, the Press Code did not contain any reference to the constitution and the press operated in a vacuum so to speak.

In short, the corporate press, commercial news, call it what you want, is incapable of regulating itself. Furthermore, the ombud is nothing more than a sham. For starters, there is no review process and anyone making a complaint is at a severe disadvantage. I would have to put down a R20 000 deposit at the High Court, merely to defend my rights to be heard, which most obviously have been denied. So plus one for the fascists and neoconservatives at Newspaper House.

Journalism SA reaction:

South Africa’s Newspapers can’t be Trusted to Tell the Truth

* For the record, I have now attempted to exercise my common law rights to enter a charge of defamation against the person concerned, but to no avail. The docket has gone missing.

Independent Group Board Member to face ethics committee again

A Canadian government ethics committee wants to hear from Independent Group’s Brian Mulroney again. According to Juliet O’Neill of the  Canwest News Service, Ottawa’s House of Commons ethics committee voted 6-5 on Thursday to recall the former Canadian prime minister to testify yet again about his dealings with German-Canadian businessman Karlheinz Schreiber amidst accusations that the government is dragging its feet on a promised public inquiry.

Mulroney declined an invitation some weeks ago to reappear at the committee, on grounds a formal inquiry will be better equipped, but the motion compels him to come back by June 12 for more questions about his acceptance of at least $250,000 cash from Schreiber shortly after his term as prime minister ended in 1993. Mulroney spokesman Joseph Lavoie deferred comment until Friday.

Mulroney was last seen in South Africa, dining out at Cape Town Castle with Rhodes-Mandela Foundation honcho Sean Johnson while his party was being arraigned over charges of bribery and corruption. Nothing new about the halls of power, but this is the press G-dammit! Is the Cape Times carrying the story?  Not on your life, that would mean facing accusations of bribery and corruption from the very same people they are trying to lynch in the Mo and Shaik scandal.

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