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Bloglogue: Iran in the Media

Bloglogue project finally was launched on webgardian blog with the following questions:

Do you think the news that we get about Iran or sensitive issues are biased? Why? And how can bloggers or non bloggers as individuals communicate non biased news? Dream or reality?

Six contributors, four bloggers and two non bloggers, shared their ideas in Bloglogue.

For all contributors, news about Iran, Middle East and probably whole world can be biased. Monopoly of media companies and our stand point, glasses through which we look at the world, are two major elements which make news biased. Of course each person has its own reasoning and point of view on this subject even though there is a common ground for most of their arguments.

1-Monopolized Media & Biased News

Dr.Majid Tehranian, a non blogger who is a US based Professor of Communication with hundred articles in his name, says monopoly of news companies by 9 major Anglo Saxon corporations, make us to look at news through Anglo Saxon eyes. He says:

“That is the nature of human understanding. We all look at the world from a particular standpoint. But since most of our knowledge of the world today is through the media, media bias is a critical issue. Most of the media in the world today are owned by nine major transnational media corporations. Since most of these corporations are Anglo-American, medias bias also is Anglo-American”.



Christian Alexander
a US based blogger shares more or less same idea with Dr.Tehranian. In blogger's words:

However, the monopolization of media sources and the increasingly corporate nature of reporting have begun to hinder objectivity. Large media companies may not have an explicit ideological purpose, but the narrowing of diversity of competition coupled with the increasing need to make a profit off of a highly segmented market creates an environment where biased assessments are inevitable.

Blogs in his eyes can act as a positive counterpoint to mainstream news media, discussing, interpreting and redirecting their stories. Because they lack the structure of mainstream media.

Curt Hopkins, a US blogger and journalist, in the same direction writes:

“They are more concerned with maximizing profits through cutting expenses and achieving the greatest possible readership for their corporate owners than with promoting some politically expedient view of Iran as that place on the map that says here are monsters”.

For Curt, blogs and books are alternative important sources to get informed beyond traditional biased media.

Lars a blogger from Norway says:

“The perspective is mostly that of the West as an actor, rather than that of the actors in the Middle East. This does not by default lead to a bias, but it leads to a lack of serious information, as the different perspectives are often omitted.Blogging, and in general independent media, has been a valuable source for information”.

For this blogger who follows Middle East, you can not seriously cover Iran or Syria without checking Iranian or Syrian blogs.

2-Interpretation Matters

By reading Shahram Kholdi's , a UK based blogger & academic in university of Manchester, piece, I can say, for this blogger, both media & blogs can be biased but you see what you want. According to him:

Comparative perspectives can be even more useful in helping us to understand the position of one side, Iran, against the other side, the US. When the United States of America with all different mechanisms of Foreign Policy, from the Congress to the White House, remains elusive in terms of the predictability of its next move against Iran, it should come as no surprise that the poly-centric power apparatus of the Islamic Republic is far more difficult to predict under such circumstances. Often, one reads too much or too little in the public statements that come from Iran. I have so far observed similar approaches by both anti-war and pro-war bloggers and reporters“.

Dr. Djamshid Asadi, Paris based non blogger Economics Professor, writes:

Because of a relatively free competition in the democratic countries,(news) cannot be exuberantly biased. Still, receivers of news do not understand necessarily the meaning of the reported events. They consume news, but they do not automatically comprehend. Bloggers can share interpretations and cross them with more people. Hence, they might integrate more sophisticated points of view“.

In conclusion, I should say that the contributors who think news senders ( monopolised media companies) create biased news, consider a vital role for blogs as an independent source(s) in the communication world. Contributors, who see problem depends on readers or news receivers, think about blogs a voice among other media voices. More voices will enlarge our view on world.

10 comments

  • I really like Dr. Teheranian’s comment that “make us to look at news through Anglo Saxon eyes,” a very original way to stated what was basically the reason GV got started in the first place.

  • Congrats!

  • Great idea, I wholeheartingly agree.

  • AMSerrani

    Is there any way that this bloglogue can be copied into a personal (non-commercial) blog? Are we free to post the whole content of this Bloglogue onto our blogs?

  • AMSerrani,
    Yes, all Global Voices content is published under a Creative Commons license, which means that you are welcome to copy and re-post our material as long as you link back to the original post and give us credit.
    Thanks for your interest!!
    Rebecca

  • If 400 people demonstrate in Tehran is it a news, can it be called one of the angriest cartoon demonstration? I wrote a post about this on my blog http://sampsak.blogspot.com/2006/02/cartoon-demonstration-gone-wrong-for.html and gave BBC feedback. I wish BBC will not become the propaganda machine they where in post-9/11 times.

  • If 400 people demonstrate in Tehran is it a news, can it be called one of the angriest cartoon demonstration?

    I wrote a post about this on my blog Cartoon Demos Gone Wrong for Everyone and gave BBC feedback. I wish BBC will not become the propaganda machine they where in post-9/11 times.

  • Nic Fulton

    The most successful media companies are those that understand their audiences. This can be by “cheering for the home team” of simply by covering topics of interest to their audience. I can sympathise with the view that Anglo-Saxon views dominate media companies, but I think this is predominantly in the management approach. It would be a weak long-term business strategy to let the Anglo-Saxon view influence the programming and content of the media product. The success of Al Jazeera, a very Anglo-Saxon managed but non-Anglo-Saxon programmed media company, is a testament to this. The Times of India is similar – Anglo-Saxon management, Indian focused content. In many ways it is the global financial system’s Anglo-Saxon centricity which is dominant. However, that very system looks for profits, and if this is in locally programmed content with a non-Anglo-Saxon view, I’m sure the money will speak louder that Anglo-Saxon views.

  • […] Bloglogue’s first issue was about Iran in Media and several bloggers & non bloggers from different countries took part in discussion. […]

  • The major “western powers” can chose at their preference what stories to blow out of proportion to their own advantage and what stories NOT to report – it’s all relative to what is in their interests at one specific point in time. In the case of Iran the “western media” has stayed silent for 27 years on genocide, killings, torture, discrimination and other human rights abuses. As of late the western powers went along with the Islamic Republic’s charade of “good guys vs bad guys” or “reformers vs conservatives” – which any Iranian knows is a charade for the regime to keep itself in power by portraying there to be some kind of “reformist” movement within itself!

    In 1979 the “western powers” decided to get rid of the late Shah of Iran so they arranged for a huge anti-Shah propaganda campaign against His Late Majesty…what a shame and also proves how powerful world media is and how it can manipulate peoples’ views.

    I support this initiative and i’m sure all those Iranian voices that aren’t heard by the audience in “the west” agree that their voices need to be heard!

    Thanks.

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