June 17, 2003

THERE ARE 20,000 IRANIAN WEBLOGS. Jeff Jarvis has links to some of them. One of the most popular is by a former prostitute. Here’s more:

Iranian youths have launched 20,000 active Web logs, or “blogs,” — online diaries which range in topic from simple musings on life to political discussions to sports.

In April, Sina Motallebi became the first blogger to be arrested in Iran where dozens of reformist journalists have been charged by hardline courts. He was freed on bail three weeks later but still faces undisclosed charges.

Women have been especially active bloggers, seizing the opportunity to speak out freely and anonymously on subjects such as dating and romance.

Besides popular political and news sites, half of the 10 most visited Persian blogs are about sex, according to figures from a service providing statistics on Web usage.

“Blogs show us a new generation . . . that is self-expressive, tolerant and individualistic,” said Hossein Derakhshan, a Toronto-based veteran Iranian blogger.

“Many are lonely and hopeless to the point of depression. They seem to be frustrated and have a problem with sex,” said Derakhshan, who presented a study on Iranian blogs at a conference in Vienna in late May.

Azadi, Arak, Eshgh!

UPDATE: Arthur Silber has more thoughts on blogging ex-prostitutes and revolution.

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