by: Pierre Fredickson

"Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed: everything else is public relations.”

-George Orwell


As we know from years to years, there are so many people that tried to spread the word of truth to the world about what's happening around them. What is being concealed from the world's eye. Those people fought day and night to seek things that are fishy. These people are Journalists. Being a journalist is not an easy job to do. Searching, gathering, writing and publishing, it won't be as simple as we thought. Especially if we are a journalist at a specific country that forbids "the freedom of speech". Each year there's lots of people that became casualty of truth. Each news that a journalist covered constantly attract an opposing account, those people who chose to oppose usually used a lot of plans to bring that news (truth) and the Journalist down (easy and the hard way). Therefore, being a Journalist is the one job that put their life at a stake.

Technology advanced from time to time. The era when the print machine was invented until the (now) internet era. The thing is, on the internet era everything is accessible and easy to search. On the early days of year 1990s people knew about world news from newspaper, radio, even a television. But nowadays it's much easier to know what's really happening, is by using the internet. And now on the cyber world (internet) we know that there are people called netizen (internet citizens), some of those people posts about what is happening at their hometown. A war, riots, even natural disasters are being broadcasted by these nowadays advanced technology. For a journalist, this is a big open opportunity to spread the world about the truth.
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Q:What is freedom?

A:I don't know, but I know someday I will see its shadow falling on my land.

-Omidreza from his blog, September 2006

Omidreza Mirsayafi, a 29-years old Iranian blogger. He was sentenced to death because he was accused to insult Islamic's religious leader and doing a propaganda against the Republic. He is a poet, he wrote a lot of sensible things that touches other bloggers heart (according to the information that i read on some sources that i received). Omidreza was Iran's first known blogger who was deceased because the words that he was spreading, in order to oppose the Islamic Republic. Due to his act he made a backfire fighting the authorities, he was imprisoned and intimidated of the article that he made at his blog.
At high school Omidreza had an interest at physics and mathematics, but time flies and he decided to focus on journalism things. At 1999 he contributed his story to many newspaper. On 2006 Omidreza started his first blog named "Rouznegar" (Diary Writer).He wrote a lot of things about general things, and it's normal among the world wide bloggers. In his blogs, there's a lot of interview about Iranian musician as we can say, it's a music review. Overtime Omidreza's writing became more "spicy" he made a critical comment about the government. So, he was arrested in April 2008. and 30 months on Evin Prison. He was once bailed out from the prison, but on February 7th he was detained without any notice or warrant. He died in prison on March 18 2009, the authorities stated that Omidreza died because he took too much of the medication, and he overdosed. But the the family testified that Omidreza was tortured and died.
This incident took the heart of most people, in order to commemorate the death of Omidreza Mirsayafi, the internet citizens decided to make March 18 as the memorial of a first blogger that died of showing dissatisfaction of his own government, that movement is OR318. The OR318 is a movement to prevent any bloggers dying of blogging at the future.

Instead of bending and unbending in prayers for a God dwelling cozily in the seventh heaven I learned to be an insignificant meek person who for the entire world would not take a whit worth of dirty money. I learned that I am the creator and the created. I learned that the salvation is not achieved by wandering through the primrose path of sticking to the dogmas and the preordained codes. But it is in having faith in the dignity, nobility and liberty of the human beings. I learned that humans are not a bunch of weak slaves or debilitated beings, but they are commanding and free agents who can create whatever they wish. I learned that I have to learn in order to set myself free. I learned to unlearn whatever I had learned earlier in my life and found my thoughts on a firm and correct base from the scratch. I learned I had been moving on the wrong track for 20 years. I learned I could be born again in any way I'd want to. -from Omidreza's blog

The incident that occurred made Omidreza's blog been blocked by the Government, he was under the magnifier of the "Iranian Cyber Police". Before being held at the prison, he contacted and shared stories about what's happening on iraq to Jullian York at New York. "Omidreza is a symbol of many things," said Jillian York, a project coordinator at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, who exchanged e-mails with Mirsayafi in the months before his death.
To overview the politic system in Iranian's blogosphere i found a source that supplied me some information about the system. Well, you have to download the pdf.
Iran, a country rich in history, culture, and education, supports a large online community, including perhaps the fourth largest ‘blogosphere’ in the world (or the second, third or seventh). Because the Iranian press is under the control of religious conservatives who sit above elected offcials in Iran’s peculiar hybrid political system, and because that conservative control is used to silence dissent, Iranians who think differently go online to express their views. Here, the inherent freedom of the Internet (anonymity, decentralized control, etc.) allows the true minds of Iran’s youth, journalists, and intellectuals to be known publicly. In their blogs and online chats we see their rejection of the regime, its brutal paternalistic control, its enforcement of archaic sexual mores, its corruption and incompetence, and of the legitimacy of the Islamic Republic itself. e government, worried, has cracked down. Bloggers have been sent to jail, websites are being blocked, and user bandwidth is constricted, but the Internet continues to be one of the best hopes for homegrown democratic change in autocratic Iran. If you read Iranian blogs, it is clear that many Iranians want drastic social and political change.
(Mapping Iran's Online Public: Politics and Culture in the persian Blogosphere page 5 paragraph 2)
The Iranian blogosphere mimics the ‘hybrid’ Iranian politi­cal system, and also stands in stark contrast to the tradi­tional Iranian media environment. Iranian political system is noted for its high levels of elite contestation and fragmentation. Keshavarzian has described Iran’s political system as ‘factionalized authoritarianism,’ where the system of Islamic Governance that has emerged in Iran includes elements of democracy such as elections for representa­tive institutions for the Parliament and the Presidency. However, those elements of democracy and mass participa­tion are subsumed under the rule of clerics who determine who is permitted to run for office and otherwise limit the level of political debate. Clerical rule is established in the ultimate leadership of the Supreme Leader and the Guardian Council, who are seen to “protect the will of God.” This is ‘dual authority’ between religious and repre­sentative political threads allow for competing interpreta­tions of what the Islamic government should look like, how it should or should not change, and what the proper role of Islam is in the government—interpretations that are often at odds with one another.
(Mapping Iran's Online Public: Politics and Culture in the persian Blogosphere page 21 paragraph 2)
Being a journalist at Iran it's quite a dangerous choice, as Jullian York on her article said. You can't really speak freely there, you are being controlled by the government. You just got 2 choices: stop talking about the government, or 'i' will shut your station and take your rights and life away. Even the international always remind Iran about the Human Rights, they will be deaf and blindsided about those things. Being a journalist here got it's many challenge in order to talk your talk.
Freedom of speech is not free at all, it has its price to pay and that's with our own life. From Omidreza's incident we can learn that even with the high technology nowadays, it doesn't mean that we can talk easily. Even we are a watchdog of the government, we are being watched too. Every single step, every word that we spitted, and if it's highly sensitive for the government, they will eliminate the threat. Omidreza is a symbol of the people that was abused for telling the truth, for opposing the devils.

Q:When will we understand the meaning of freedom?

A:When our wisdom can be delivered from ignorance, selfishness and foolishness.


Sources:
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