May 02, 2003

Online Protest

Now the BBC, arguably world's most listened to broadcaster, has joined others in spreading the news about Sina Motallebi, as well as what we all (as Iranian bloggers) started in a campaign to protest his arrest.

Their coverage also highlights the petition to "Free Sina" as well as links to various related sites.

For those of you in Oklahoma, I was just on a live interview by Cam Edwards of Newsradio 1000 KTOK. Being part of the ClearChannel network, I believe the program may be syndicated in other markets as well. Hope you were able to catch it. He has promised a copy of my comments sent, which when and if I get it, I'll post it here.

Let's keep the pressure on, Sina must be freed! Other bloggers must feel safe (notice the growing number of inactive links in my persian blog links to the right? hope it's not out of fear). Spread the news, please!

Here's the full text of BBC's coverage:

Bloggers unite to fight

Web log writers around the world are joining forces to protest against the detention of a fellow blogger.

Iranian Sina Motallebi has been held by the authorities on, so far, unspecified charges and now fellow web users are banding together to press for his release.

An online petition has been set up calling for the release of Mr Motallebi and for a halt to harassment of journalists by the Iranian Government.

The cause has been picked up by other bloggers, who are also calling for his release.

Online protest

In many Middle Eastern countries the web has become hugely important as an alternative method of communication, partly because it is often subject to less stringent control than newspapers, TV or radio.

In Iran many journalists, commentators and young people have set up web-based journals or blogs that document their daily lives and thoughts.

Before setting up and running the prominent Rooznegar blog, Mr Motallebi was a staff reporter on a reformist newspaper called Hayat-e-No which was shut down by the Iranian authorities in January.

On 20 April he was arrested, reportedly because of interviews with the press on his website and for defending another former Hayat-e-No journalist who ran a cartoon in a newspaper that offended the government.

Since his detention Iranian bloggers have rallied to his cause.

San Diego-based Pedram Moallemian has set up a petition to call for Mr Motallebi's release and has publicised the case beyond Iran.

He has been joined by Iranian Hossein Derakhshan who passed information about Mr Motallebi to high profile bloggers in the US such as Dan Gillmor of the San Jose Mercury News.

The petition has made an appearance on many blogs and has appeared high in the rankings of the Blogdex and Daypop sites that catalogue what is popular among bloggers.

So far, almost 3,000 people have signed the petition online.

However, Mr Derakhshan noted on his blog that all the support could cause further problems for Mr Motallebi during interrogation.

Reporters Without Borders has issued a statement deploring Mr Motallebi's detention and other attacks on journalists.

Posted by Pedram at May 2, 2003 06:49 AM

I am cheered to see almost 3000 signatures now. When I signed there were so few, I wondered if I was not understanding what I was signing. Alas it sounds like Sina may plead to something he hasn't done to get out of more serious charges, that he also hasn't done.

Posted by: Dave at May 2, 2003 09:33 AM

Hi,most probably you have heard about that but in case not,I thought maybe you would like to know about the letter of Ebrahim nabavi to Mr. Khatami about Sina's situtaion.You can find it in Sokhan Emrooz of 9th Ordibehesht in his site.Thanks for all you do and Good Luck.

Posted by: Artmis at May 3, 2003 03:02 AM
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