Liberation or suppression technologies? The internet, the green movement and the regime in Iran

Saeid Golkar*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations

Abstract

Immediately after sparking the political unrest following the disputed 2009 Iranian presidential elections, many scholars praised the role of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in the formation and expansion of the Green Movement, calling it "The Twitter Revolution" and other such monikers. No sooner had the protesters begun to use these technologies for mobilising popular support, the regime began utilising ICTs, and especially the Internet, to expand its political control of society and suppress political dissents. The Iranian experience has raised many questions about the role of the Internet as liberation technology. Is the Internet really an emancipating technology in the people's hands? Clearly, in the case of Iran, the case is ambivalent. While the Internet has helped political activists to expand the Green Movement by increasing their capacity to mobilise the masses and delegitimise the regime, it has also enabled the regime to increase its political control by more easily identifying and suppressing opponents, inducing a sense of fear among the people, and expanding military and paramilitary forces' presence in cyberspace. This paper explains the simultaneous role of the Internet in both the expansion and suppression of the Green Movement in the post-presidential election period.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)50-70
Number of pages21
JournalAustralian Journal of Emerging Technologies and Society
Volume9
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 31 2011

Keywords

  • Internet
  • Iran
  • Iranian regime
  • Islamic revolutionary guards and Basij in virtual space
  • Political control of the internet
  • The green movement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Engineering(all)

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