A group of Iranian women journalists has been honoured for its work promoting media freedom and women’s rights under the cosh of the Iranian state’s intervention and interference.
Social media tools like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube need to be better channelled towards the long-term goals of social movements, according to an Iranian feminist blogger.
Writer Parvin Adalan was in Paris on Thursday to accept a Google and Reporters Without Borders (RSF) award on behalf of the 20 women who founded the site we-change.org in 2006.
She told FRANCE 24 that the reaction to the huge street protests following last year's disputed presidential elections and the unprecedented use of social media by ordinary Iranians had been overwhelmingly positive.
Fickle media and social movements
But she also warned that the vagaries of traditional media could mean that important messages - diffused using such revolutionary tools - risked being lost.
She said: “Iranians used every type of social media after the elections. It was very important, but the reasons [behind the protests] have not gone away.
“The international reaction after the election was good. But little by little governments tried to address the problems themselves, through sanctions and the nuclear issue – and the coverage of the conventional media [on social issues] decreased.
“What are needed are social movements. We need to develop social movements without borders.”
Adalan’s group was awarded the “Net Citizen” award by US Internet giant Google and (RSF) for their fight to defend freedom of expression online in Iran.
Speaking at the Paris ceremony, Google vice-president David Drummond singled out Iran and China as posing "the most systemic risk and … immediate risk to individuals" by cracking down on online dissent.
Google recently announced it would pull out of China in frustration with their strict censorship laws and after it was revealed the Gmail accounts of certain prominent Chinese activists had been hacked in to.
The group has published a list of countries it accuses of "displaying a disturbing attitude towards the Internet”, this year adding Australia, South Korea, Turkey and Russia to the list of countries it says are falling short in giving their citizens full media rights.