Research

Presidential Candidates: A Look at ICT Policy Rhetoric

All eight candidates participating in Iran's eleventh presidential elections commented on ICT issues and cyberspace, unsurprising since the period leading up to the elections saw some of the slowest Internet speeds, crackdowns on VPNs, and warnings from various security bodies about the Internet's ability to stir up seditious sentiment in advance of June 14th. This article takes a look at the candidates and their statements about ICT policy over the course of their campaigns.

By cgcs_admin
Fri Jun 28
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The Islamic Republic's Political Elite & Syria: Understanding What They Think Through Iranian Media Narratives

The Islamic Republic of Iran has been the central regional backer of the Bashar al-Assad regime since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war in March 2011. Despite the importance of Iran in the drama unfolding in Syria, including any possible resolution to the conflict, the Iranian political elite’s perceptions of the Syrian civil war are arguably not well understood. This report attempts to uncover these perceptions by analyzing the Iranian print news media and highlighting the dominant narratives. As one of the first systematic studies of Iranian media narratives on the Syrian civil war, this report can be an aid to policymakers, academics, journalists and others in understanding the Iranian political elite’s thinking on this issue.

By cgcs_admin
Wed Jun 26
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Will politics be tweeted? New media use by Iranian youth in 2011

A survey of 2,800 Iranian youths regarding their consumption of media and social media indicates that the Internet and state-run television are their primary source for news and information, followed by traditional media and personal connections. Twitter, long thought to be the catalyst of the post-election discontent in 2009, did not show up on the radar of news and information sources. The survey was conducted in 2011 by the Annenberg School for Communication’s Center for Global Communication Studies (CGCS) and is reported in the journal New Media & Society. The article “Will politics be tweeted? New media use by Iranian youth in 2011” by Magdalena Wojcieszak, Ph.D. (Gr '09), IE University in Spain; and Briar Smith, associate director of CGCS, reported on efforts to determine what sources younger Iranians use for information, the extent to which they rely on new media (such as social media) for political exchanges, their experiences with online censorship, and political efficacy as related to new media. The uprisings in Iran following the 2009 contested elections and debate over new media’s potential to affect dissent was, in part, a backdrop to the research. The survey was conducted at a time when the “Arab Spring” was taking place, raising the question of whether new media can empower popular protests.

By cgcs_admin
Tue Jun 11
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The Political Affiliations of Iranian Newspapers

The complexities of the Iranian media ecosystem become most apparent during the election season when the heightened political climate leads to intensified scrutiny to and reliance on print media. In the absence of political parties, the press serves as a valuable tool during election campaigns, and this report highlights the shifting allegiances in national publications with a focus on politics, economics, and society. Newspapers are divided by faction (Pro-government Conservative, Traditional Conservative, Critical-of-the-Government Conservative, Affiliated with Reformists, and Reformist).

By cgcs_admin
Fri May 17
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Fights, Adapts, Accepts: Archetypes of Iranian Internet Use

The narrowing space for dissent and free exchange of ideas in the Iranian public sphere and in public space has been one of the driving forces behind Iranians’ use of cyberspace as a mechanism for expression. The Internet is one of the few remaining platforms where Iranians can practice some level of open debate, less susceptible to social and political limitations. Research on Internet use in Iran sheds light on a large online community engaged in a diversity of activities and expanding at a significant pace. This study seeks to complement standard online research techniques by providing a richer picture of Iranian Internet users. The novel research method utilized in this study features 'archetypes' whose characteristics are described in vignettes, and who are defined based on their relationship with the Internet. Taking this approach, our study considers the Internet as an ecosystem, and works toward providing a more realistic narration of the diversity of Iranian Internet users and online environments.

By Anonymous
Thu Mar 7
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Finding a way - How Iranians reach for news and information

The Iran Media Program publishes its groundbreaking 2011-2012 report on media consumption in Iran: Finding a Way - How Iranians reach for news and information. The report was authored by Magdalena Wojcieszak, Briar Smith and Mahmood Enayat and encompasses the results of two surveys conducted over the past year: the first is a field-based, systematically recruited sample of Iranians in several major metropolitan areas which mirrored the demographics of the country. The second study is an online questionnaire among young, metropolitan, educated and technologically savvy Iranians, and was aimed at illustrating the extent to which these youth employ new media for political purposes over a year after the contested Iranian elections and during the Tunisia, Egypt and Libya uprisings. The report combines the two studies for a comprehensive look at media consumption in Iran. Both studies obtained information on what sources Iranians consider most important for news and information, what kinds of new and traditional media are used and for what purposes, and which new media are used to discuss various issues. The prevalence of Internet use, online activities, and speed of access was assessed, as was the use of and engagement with certain platforms such as blogs, Facebook and Twitter. The surveys also examined the use of circumvention tools as well as the extent to which Iranians think citizens can be empowered through the use of new media.

By cgcs_admin
Mon Feb 11
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National Web Studies: Mapping Iran Online

This work offers an approach to conceptualizing, demarcating and analyzing a national web. Instead of defining a priori the types of websites to be included in a national web, the approach put forward here makes use of web devices (platforms and engines) that purport to provide (ranked) lists of URLs relevant to a particular country. Once gathered in such a manner, the websites are studied for their properties, following certain of the common measures (such as responsiveness and page age), and repurposing them to speak in terms of the health of a national web: Are sites lively, or neglected? The case study in question is Iran, which is special for the degree of Internet censorship undertaken by the state. Despite the widespread censorship, we have found a highly responsive Iranian web. We also report on the relationship between blockage, responsiveness and freshness, i.e., whether blocked sites are still up, and also whether they have been recently updated. Blocked yet blogging portions of the Iranian web show strong indications of an active Internet censorship circumvention culture. In seeking to answer, additionally, whether censorship has killed content, a textual analysis shows continued use of language considered critical by the regime, thereby indicating a dearth of self-censorship, at least for websites that are recommended by the leading Iranian platform, Balatarin. The study concludes with the implications of the approach put forward for national web studies, including a description of the benefits of a national web health index. Authors: Richard Rogers, Esther Weltevrede, Sabine Niederer and Erik Borra February 2012

By Anonymous
Sun Feb 10
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