Viewsdesk - chasing the global public sphere

May 2006

Technologies16:40, May 31, 2006

The Swedish organization Gapminder, aims to visualize world development by making statistics more understandable. I must say they are very, very good at what they do.

First, watch the video presentation – and then play with the software here.


Censorship and Iran21:59, May 30, 2006

One thing that surprised me with Iran was that it was not particularly hard to get over foreign magazines. Just visit a specialized newsagent, and the stacks were pretty much the same as anywhere; Times, Newsweek and the ubiquitous The Economist.

censored magazine coverYou have to remember that I brought very little ? if any ? literature with me, in order to travel light, so the first time I saw English-language magazines I bought pretty much everything I could get my hands on. (Hotel rooms are boring at night, you know.) All was fine, until I came back and started reading them.

They were all censored. And not in any subtle way ? but with black felt-tip pens and white stickers! The interesting thing is that an article can be very critical towards Iranian policies in writing, but pictures are apperently much more sensitive. An issue of the The Economist, for example, featured an extremely opinionated leader on Iran?s nuclear policies. It was not touched. The caricature cartoon of Khamenei, however, was a big black hole.

As was all images of women with a little less clothes than prescribed.

This sparked my interest, and the next day I went on a quest to find more magazines. I bought a whole bunch, from newspapers and viewspapers to Wallpaper and National Geographic.

The latter also had the most prominent censorship of them all ? as shown in the image in this post (the untouched cover in the lower right corner).

I will make a more methodical study of the 30-or-so magazines I brought back to Sweden, and return with more scientific results on the censorship.

Iran13:52, May 29, 2006

I’ve returned from my research trip to Iran, where I’ve been on a month-long research trip, as part of writing my master thesis on Iranian blogs and the public sphere.

This trip also explains that this blog have been so eerily quiet for some time. I decided not to blog about this project — and I even went as far as removing the posts I’d already made on the subject. I apologize for any confusion. This was of course due to security concerns, both my own and for that of my interviewees. I preferred to stay under the radar, and better be safe than sorry.

Anyway, I have had a fantastic time in Iran and I return with a great material. I?ve met with so many enthusiastic and inspiring bloggers in Tehran and Esfahan. I wish I could tell you some of the stories I’ve heard…

I’ll be posting some comments and observations as I start to dig more in to my material. Watch this space!