Eyewitness Accounts and Political Claims: Transnational Responses to the 2009 Postelection Protests in Iran

  • Alexanian J
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Abstract Through an examination of the use of media in the 2009 postelection protests in Iran, this article contextualizes the use of social media as a form of eyewitness account within the broader context of media distrust in Iran and Iranian expatriate satellite television. What emerges through this analysis is a set of concerns related to the eyewitness account offered through digital media as a potentially uncontrollable and indeterminate form. As I show through a media analysis of online content and debates, these concerns are evident both in the context of Iran and among Iranians in the diaspora. In the latter case, this article considers the protests as a transnational media event, focusing on the use of social media in the Iranian diaspora, and examines how Iranians around the world have used social media to connect to the events in Iran as a form of activism and in the performance of Iranian identities. Surveys and interviews conducted with Iranians in Los Angeles and Toronto reveal among Iranian immigrants a deep concern with the global image of Iran, an emphasis on publicity as a form of political action, and anxieties related to the representation of the “Iranian community” in Western media.

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  • Janet A. Alexanian

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