Freedom of expression and its role in the liberation movement
One of the hallmarks of a free and democratic society is that its members are not afraid to express their ideas and beliefs. In other words, they can effectively play a role in the political structure and macro-policy adoption. This will not be possible unless, in a democratic state, the media is free of state monopoly and reflects the demands of the masses.
It is important to note that in Iran, the strike of the press and radio and television in 1979 and the resistance of its staff in front of the Shah’s regime played a worthy role in the down of this regime.
The airing of a 7-and-a-half-minute video of the massacre of students on November 4, 1978 on the national television network provoked the Iranian people’s anger.
Although the regime arrested the reporters and creators of the short film, it was experienced what a tremendous power it would have when the media served the revolution and the people.
Monophony in religious tyranny
The religious tyranny that has this experience in the fall of the Shah, from the time he came to power, made a great effort to break the contradictory pens that were inconsistent with its monopoly and censorship, to stifle dissenting voices, and to use the media in its own interests.
For years, the mullahs’ regime was able to take advantage of this oppression, but with the advent of satellite and then the Internet and mobile phones and social networks, this monophony was pierced, then cracked and is now collapsing.
The government can do nothing in the face of the new technology and the spread of millions of independent and new media. Its latest weapon was filtering, which it acknowledged not only did not prevent people from accessing it, but also increased access to banned sites and networks.
The State-run daily Shargh on February 9, 2021 wrote: “Work has become difficult for those in power. They do not like this space at all. I was in their position; I did not like it too. For hundreds of years, you have been a theologian, and every medium, from books to newspapers and then radio, cinema, and television, could only embarrassed and persuade the people to obey.
“Now there is an atmosphere that is somewhat safe from the bite of power and every time, it leaves its own message, tear up your papers and challenges you constantly. Such a nightmare is not tolerable at all.”
The problem for the government now is not just that everyone can have their own media in cyberspace. The problem is more fundamental for the Velayat-e-Faqih (Supreme clerical rule) system. Now, according to the East, public hatred of the government is growing uncontrollably. Influenced by this public hatred, cyberspace has now become a mirror to reflect it.
“Dissatisfaction with everything is now the predominant aspect of cyberspace in Iran, and may, God forbid, put the country at risk of uncontrollable public hatred. Our people are affected by every message of dissatisfaction due to pressures, failures, sanctions and erosive bottlenecks, and cyberspace has become a machine for producing dissatisfaction.” (Shargh, February 9, 2021)
Then, this is not the only problem of the government. The problem is that cyberspace full of dissatisfied voices can lead to solidarity, empathy, and dissent.
Dissatisfaction, when struck in self-consciousness and resonates, can lead to the revolution. This is the sum of the objective and mental conditions of the revolution and their effect on each other.
During the 42 years of the mullahs’ domination in Iran, anger and resentment have accumulated and provided the fuel for the revolution.
“The baggage of hatred has been provided for many years … Now cyberspace and the possibility of wide communication between audiences have multiplied the risks of producing dissatisfaction. In the light of cyberspace, multiple hatreds and protests can become united.” (Shargh, February 9, 2021)