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Iranian authorities track down opponents on the Web

Latest update : 2009-06-29

Today on the Net: The Iranian authorities track down opponents on the Web; Indonesia's presidential campaign rages online; and Michael Jackson fans flood the Web with moonwalks.


Students, journalists and politicians. Hundreds, even thousands of Iranians have been arrested since the much contested re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president. The latest to date: 8 British embassy employees. A hunt for opponents that is also being carried out on the Net.

On one of their sites, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards are broadcasting these photos of protesters. Citizens with information about the individuals are asked to contact the authorities by phone or email.

Two people are thought to have been arrested because of these online wanted posters, which are broadcast via several Islamist bloggers.


And as it cannot be blocked, Twitter is under strict surveillance. Government agents are passing themselves off as opponents to spread false information and track down dissident net users. False accounts which users are attempting to uncover and whose list is regularly updated.


Something which has not prevented the arrest of many bloggers in the last 2 weeks. Of these, Mohammed Ali Abtahi, former vice-president and advisor to the reformist candidate, Mehdi Karoubi. In his last article posted online, he denounced what he described as ‘clear’ fraud at the presidential elections.
Ali Abhati :


And concerned about the fate of their imprisoned brothers in arms, Iranian net users have launched this online campaign to defend freedom of expression. This video pays tribute to Omid Reza Mir Sayafi, a blogger who died in Evin prison on March 18. It ends with this phrase: ‘May the first blogger to die in prison, also be the last’



In Indonesia, the residential election campaign of July 8 has been officially open since June 2. And clashes between current president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono aka SBY, and his vice-president, Jusuf Kalla, are raging on line.

President Susilo Yudhoyono remains the most popular with net users, as demonstrated by the countless videos praising the first president to be elected by universal suffrage in the country.


SBY has invaded the web. As well as 3 websites, he boasts of a Facebook page with over 300 000 fans - who post remarks and videos in support of their president candidate, like in this video. SBY, who has composed an album of popular music, sings one of his songs.

But vice-president, Jusuf Kalla is not sitting on his laurels. Apart from a Facebook presence, the candidate is using the services of the Johan foundation, a consulting company which has created several videos for him. Videos that have of course been broadcast online.

The other parties are also leading virtual campaigns. Interactive vote counting, videos and even a Twitter account are all proposed by General Prabowo Subianto’s party.

Bloggers are maintaining a critical view of this campaign. This Indonesian man is posting online candidate’s official declarations concerning their personal wealth. General Subianto appears as the richest with 27 companies, several million rupees and 90 horses.



The Wordometers site lets users monitor world statistics in real time. Deaths, births, Government expenditure and computers sold- figures flash by in real time under your eyes. A site run by an international team of specialists and volunteers.




These images of Stalin and Lenin seem to be missing something. In fact Russian bloggers wondered what these illustrious historical figures would look like without their moustaches. They used Photoshop to retouch their portraits. Che Guevara, Charlie Chaplin, Albert Einstein, Salvador Dali and Osama Ben Laden, a whole host of famous moustache wearers were subject to the virtual razor of Russian net users.



Net users are still paying homage to the King of pop, Michael Jackson. On the web, videos of fans imitating his famous dance - the moonwalk, are flooding in. Here is a small selection.

Date created : 2009-06-29