Interview with Digital Kalashinkov, Journalist and Blogger

mannequinsIn Digital Kalashinkov we find interesting stories, photos, and reflections on society and politics. In one of his recent posts, author Bahman Hedyati compared photographs of the various shop windows in Tehran, observing that even mannequins in Iran's capital are surreally covered up.

Please introduce yourself and your blog

My name is Bahman Hedyati from Tehran. I started to write Digital Kalashinkov four years ago. Of course it is a blog and a photoblog at the same time. I have taken almost all of the photos myself. The style of photography focuses on subjects and things that the official media is not interested in covering. I chose Digital Kalaeshinkov as a name because I feel many times what I am doing is like shooting with a Kalashinkov. There is a similarity between shooting, hunting and taking photos, especially in Iran where photographers face danger.

Of course Kalashinkov was the Red Army's favorite weapon, but please do not think I am a Communist. I really do not like them. My political leaning is to the right.

What is the added value of a weblog for journalists?

When journalists write their own blogs they realise the dimensions and consequences of their work because they become the owner of their own media. Direct contact without any intermediary with you audience, explaining marginalized news, untold stories of journalism, having the possibility to defend his/her own ideas are among the added values that a journalist can enjoy by authoring a blog. In other words, in general, a deep breath full of the feeling of liberty.

How you see the evolution of Iranian blogs in recent years?

Blogs, little by little, are stablising their position as a source of news and analysis. The Internet in Iran is no longer considered just an entertainment instrument, but its specialised aspects are becoming more visible. The political blogs in Iran has, at times, exceeded the expected effect on the political sphere. Some political leaders such as Ahmadinejad, aware that people are tired of official media, and tried their luck with blogs. Some blogs such as Mohammad Ali Abtahi's Webneveshteha have become a source of political information.

When we enter in your blog we hear the audio of a military march.

As you know Saddam Hussein attacked Iran in 1980 and he began a terrible 8 year war with us. I was born two days before the war broke out. For my generation, this war has always been a very nostalgic and eternal event. One of my interests is about the social, cultural, and political dimensions of wars such as the Iran-Iraq war, Vietnam War and World War II. The military march is a German military march that Iranian radio used to broadcast during military victories in the Iran-Iraq war. It is just a nostaligic feeling, do not take it seriously.

What is place of weblogs in our society?

Blogs are the most free media in Iran and have found their own place in society. The blogs have pushed the boundaries … Reformist politicians have given importance to bloggers. And conservative politicians, little by little, have disocovered the importance of being part of this new media. Of course they have a lot of enemies too.

Do you have any other ideas to share with us?

I think if different bloggers from all over the world discuss a common issue, it can communicate different bloggers’ concerns and ideas to each other. It will be great if the world listens to the voice of bloggers. The blogosphere has a very interesting and complex nature and it can become the source of important change in the 21st century and become one of components of soft power in our world.


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