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June 15th, 2009
10:32 PM ET

Iran’s cyber voices

Octavia Nasr
CNN Senior Editor Mideast Affairs
AC360° Contributor

Iranians beaten... and bloodied... Raw emotions filling the Internet and TV screens, capturing the world's attention in real time, for the first time at this scale since the Islamic revolution in 1979.

Setting social networking sites on fire... From You Tube to CNN's I-Report, images from Iran are constantly uploaded, representing both sides, keeping the story going and feeding a worldwide curiosity about the future of Iran.

On one side, supporters of reformist Mir Hussein Moussavi, rejecting their candidate's defeat in presidential elections; crying foul, saying their vote was robbed and they want it back.

On the other side, President Ahmadinejad's supporters celebrated their candidate's victory in mass rallies as well. Their images were carried on the regular Iranian channels across Iran and around the world.

Following the vote, results were quickly announced in favor of Mr. Ahmadinejad, the incumbent. Signs of dissent showed up next to signs of crackdown: Mr Moussavi's whereabouts unknown while his supporters didn’t give up organizing themselves and demand to see him. Media outlets such as the Duabi-based Al-Arabiya network were shut down for reporting on the violence that followed the vote. Some journalists got their share of the violence and their movement was controlled and limited..

All that didn't deter Iranians from spreading the word about what's happening in their country. With the help of social media such as You Tube, Facebook and Twitter, their voices got louder and support came to them from all corners of the globe.

Within hours, the voices of Iranians, both pro-Ahmadinejad or pro-Moussavi, found a forum for support on the internet.

A mirror of their divided voices echoed from the streets of Tehran.

Follow Octavia Nar on Twitter @OctaviaNasrCNN and follow Anderson @andersoncooper

Follow first-hand accounts of the gunshots heard at today’s rally on Twitter by using the keyword #iranelection

soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. Negin

    I think everyday it becomes more and more clear that we as humans are no longer bound to borders. Today we watch as people across the world fight for freedom and no matter how much we try to stick our heads in the sand, we can all see how this will impact us. Honor thy neighbor is no longer limited to the man on your street. You are now neighbors with the whole world!!!!

    June 16, 2009 at 9:21 am |
  2. Michelle

    The social media aspect of the story is simply fascinating.
    There is an amazing film on Vimeo called "Iran A Nation
    of Bloggers from a Canadian film student. It is a short about
    how social media would create a revolution in Iran. The
    animated short is ahead of it;s time and proved to be true.

    June 16, 2009 at 8:37 am |
  3. Ned, Montreal

    Why is CNN not doing a much better coverage of the situation in Tehran/Iran? This is a very live situation, potential changing an entire region of the world, and you show us American Idols with Larry King? SHAME! If 1 or 2 US citizens were hurt in riots there, you bet we'd be hearing about developments in real-time all day.

    June 16, 2009 at 8:20 am |
  4. Jonathan Rush

    Many of the scenes I've seen on the brave Iranian blogs remind me of the time I lived in Tehran during the '79 revolution.

    But one thing puzzles me. Where are all the Ahmandinajad supporters? And why is the foreign media not getting their views to provide some balance in their reporting?

    June 16, 2009 at 6:31 am |
  5. Stella

    I think this is an important story and it's wonderful to see the Iranian people experiencing a socially conscious awakening. However, the footage of violence particularly the dead body, was not only completely unnecessary but was offensive.

    June 15, 2009 at 10:30 pm |
  6. Roya Moghaddam

    WE thank you CNN news....Your BIG TIME coverage of the NEWS in Iran is much appritiated through out the Iranian communities....your network rocks...

    June 15, 2009 at 8:21 pm |
  7. Paulo Pinto

    Just saw your tweet about the blog. This is an incredible moment for social media tools. For the good and for the bad we have access to plenty of information but we need to filter it. Massive posting makes it difficult to check the veracity of information. We need to be rational when it comes to certify all that is being said.

    June 15, 2009 at 7:31 pm |
  8. Isabel, Brazil

    This side of the new social media are great. Follow newspapers and journalists, today is as good as receiving notice of the email newsletter. 🙂

    @OctaviaNasrCNN @andersoncooper

    It is a fact that the votes were counted manually in two hours? The defeated candidate talks about fraud. In such circumstances, who don't speak on fraud?

    June 15, 2009 at 7:18 pm |
  9. Gol

    The Iranian people have been struggling for years to get access to the outside world. It started with satellite dishes years ago. Once they had access to Western and European channels via their satellite dishes, next came the internet. Throughout the years, dealing with the Iranian government's scrambling of satellite television channels (CNN International being one of their favorite channel frequencies to scramble) and their filtering of websites on the world wide web have become the norm for the Iranian people. They are resilient, extremely intelligent and very curious about the outside world. It is our responsibility as the free world to let them know we hear and see their struggle for freedom. To show them our respect and admiration will make them more willing to fight for their freedom and rights.

    June 15, 2009 at 7:17 pm |
  10. mandi

    I don't understand why the news (especially CNN – because you guys seem to try and get to the "bottom" of things – the truth) supposedly however, I don't know why you don't show all the good things going on in the other countries instead of just the bad. You don't show that people are living day-to-day lives and have famliies – however, you just show the bombings, the killings and hatered – you never show the good that is taking place. Show the Green Zone for instance and let people see how the fat cats are living.

    June 15, 2009 at 7:16 pm |
  11. JCruz

    FYI.. "We will have 90 mins of maintenance starting at 9:45p Pacific today, June 15". Love Twitter

    Just in case..

    June 15, 2009 at 7:14 pm |
  12. Bfxgirl

    Thank you for further amplifying the power of their voice. As many mentions and posts we can get out there is gr8 4 them.

    June 15, 2009 at 7:09 pm |
  13. Richard Lewis II U. S. Army Retired

    Ahhh isn't cybor space just great or not? If we know what they are doing you better believe they know what we are doing, you know that works both ways.

    June 15, 2009 at 7:03 pm |
  14. andre

    Good job cnn

    June 15, 2009 at 7:01 pm |
  15. Lilibeth

    This is what I like about technology. It helps us know what's really going on.

    June 15, 2009 at 5:49 pm |