Mehdi Mohseni's blog Jomhour [Fa] (means Republic in Perisan) is a definitive source of information about social and political issues in Iran. If you “chase” Iranian blogs, you shouldn't miss this one. Around 1000 people visit daily.
Q: Would you introduce yourself and your blog ?
My name is Mehdi Mohseni and I was born in 1979 in Qom. I studied civil engineering. I am a sort of independent journalist. I published my first blog in 2002.
Q:You are based in South-West Iran. Can we talk about local bloggers? I mean bloggers that just talk about their own towns?
As you know blogs are borderless media. Bloggers can write from any place in Iran and have an audience anywhere in the world. They can talk about anything. I think there are local blogs that just give information about their town or location in their blog, but in general this kind of local focused blogging is not taken much into consideration.
Women in the line of fire
Q: What is the main problem of Iranian bloggers besides filtering? Do hackers create any problems?
Bloggers, like others, faces several difficulties in Iran. Many Iranian websites in general, and political ones in particular, have been filtered. In the last two years filtering and censorship has become worse. Especially many blogs by women were filtered. It is not really important what you blog about. If you are a woman, there is a real risk that your blog will get filtered. Political sites and blogs written by reformists and nationalist-religious people are targeted too. But the blogs hit the worst by filtering, belong to civil society activists such as students, women, and worker activists.
Hacking has not really been a problem for bloggers. So far only official sites have been hacked. In general, people also suffer form slow internet connections, high costs, and low quality technical problems.
Q: How do you evaluate the evolution of Iranian blogs in these recent years?
I can express my own ideas based on personal observation rather than a scientific analysis. I think there is a lot of pressure on people in society, and blogging is a good instrument to help people to express themselves in society. This may be the reason so many women and girls are blogging. Recently many middle aged people have started to use blogs to express their opinions too.
Q: How you see the influence of blogs in society?
There is growing censorship in Iran and in the absence of journals and news websites, blogs accomplish something beyond imagination even though we can not trust all the information that we find in them. Bloggers can transform a topics into hot issues in society, and force government to react.