Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Green and Saffron

George Packer on why Iran's nascent revolution may be different from Burma's stillborn 2007 protests:

For a few days, Burmese citizens with cell-phones (rare and expensive in Burma), modems (agonizingly slow), and cameras were able to send reports, still pictures, and video to the exile media, such as Democratic Voice of Burma in Oslo, which in turn posted them on Web sites that people inside Burma could read. This was how the protesters got the word out to the world and in turn stayed informed of what was happening inside the country (in these situations people on the inside almost always have less information than those outside). It became a prototype of how new media could become a powerful tool in the hands of otherwise defenseless civilians. But far fewer Burmese than Iranians have access to these things, and after a few days the regime narrowed the Internet bandwidth so tightly that almost nothing could get in or out. Iran, a much more technologically developed country, can’t afford to shut down communications across the board. Information technology is too integrated into the life of the country and the government for a complete news blackout. So the demonstrators continue to figure out ways to organize themselves, and the whole world continues to watch.

(From Interesting Times.)

No comments: