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Iran: YouTube, Broadway music and the Election

Categories: Middle East & North Africa, Iran, Digital Activism, Elections, Governance, Ideas, Media & Journalism, Music

Campaigners in the Iranian elections [1] have used YouTube in different ways to promote their favorite candidate or discredit their opponents.

Four candidates will be on the ballot for the presidency on June 12, including the current president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad [2]. The others are Mir Hussein Mousavi [3], Mehdi Karroubi [4], and Mohsen Rezaei [5].

One video appearing on YouTube compares former Prime Minister, Mir Hussein Mousavi [3] to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad [6] to the tune of the old Broadway song, ‘Anything You Can Do’ [7]. The text at the end of the film concludes that Mousavi is more rational than Ahmadinejad whose policies have damaged Iran's economy.

There is another YouTube film that targets former Reformist President, Mohammad Khatami [8] who is campaigning for Mousavi.

As Tehran Post once noted, [9] the most popular genre of jokes in Iran is the ethnic joke. The main protagonists of most ethnic jokes are Azeri Turks. In this video Khatami tells [10] [fa] a joke about a naive (Azeri) cleric in Ardebil who did something stupid, although his intention was to show that the Ardebilis are geniuses. A couple of hundred Azeri students held a protest [11] against Khatami for making this joke (see the video [11]), and asked Mousavi, who is Azeri himself, to condemn Khatami. Meanwhile, Khatami has claimed the film is a fake montage.

Digital Kalashnikov, an Iran based blogger and journalist, has captured several interesting events [12] on video during this presidential campaign. He recently published [13] a film where Mehdi Karroubi [4], former Speaker of the Parliament, and his supporters forcefully broke through the gates of Amir Kabir University when he was banned by university authorities from delivering speech.