Wednesday, February 23, 2005

A sad day for democracy: Iranian blogger sentenced to 14 years in prison

Today, Arash Sigarchi, an Iranian blogger who also ran a newspaper in northern Iran was sentenced to 14 years in prison for his blogging activities. Here is a link to a BBC article more information. A few weeks ago, Iran also moved against blogging in general, ordering Iranian ISPs to blog popular blogs and blogging sites.

Democracy and free speech are intertwined concepts. Without freedom of speech, you cannot have a true democracy, since in a democracy people need the freedom to discuss and debate current issues for the democracy to thrive. Thus, today is a sad day for democracy and free speech in Iran and the rest of the Middle East.

However, I do think today is a temporary setback. Trying to stop modernization and communication is like standing on the beach trying to stop a tsunami. You may be able to stand up for a little while, but not very long. I hope that people in Iran will be angry at their government and legal system for trying to deny them their right to access information and communicate with the world, and hopefully this anger may help accelerate positive change in Iran.

Today, I have put up a new link on my sidebar from a blog called Committee to Protect Bloggers. While they are a fairly new blog, I really appreciate what they are doing in this area, please join me in paying them a visit and them a supportive comment.