NOTE: This is a re-post of the 2009 blog entry. All of the videos linked to here contain disturbing, violent imagery.The news out of Iran about the violent suppression of people protesting the results of the recent Iranian election has been chilling.
No where has this been more dramatic than with the news about the murder of Neda Agha-Soltan, a 26-year-old woman who was studying philosophy and vocal music. Though accurate details about Agha-Soltan are scarce, the New York Times reports that was engaged, valued freedom, and was shot while stopping to get some fresh air after driving home from a singing lesson.
When she got out of the car, she was shot by a sniper. Her death was captured on cell phone video. The person who captured the video then e-mailed it to a friend, who then forwarded it to the Voice of America, the British newspaper The Guardian,and several friends. One of those friends, who lives in the Netherlands, posted the video to Facebook. From there, it moved on to a report Sunday night on CNN.
A second person at the scene captured a shorter bit of video as well:
All of this allowed the person who shot the video to bypass the official Iranian censorship effortsto block Internet, cell phone, and text message traffic, and some have charged that Western technology companies have assisted with this censorship – though the companies deny it.
Citizen video has been used in a wide range of ways.Here is a collection of images and videos set to the music of U2’s Sunday Bloody Sunday:
As I’ve written about many times in the past, I’m not a big believer in the idea of the press having some kind of overarching uniform liberal or conservative bias. I do think, that as Herbert Ganshas written, that the American press does hold a set of shared values, both liberal and conservative, the resonate with Americans. These values laid out by Gans include: ethnocentrism, altruistic democracy, responsible capitalism, small-town pastoralism, individualism, moderatism, social order, and leadership. We can see these values playing out, especially that of individualism, with the story of Neda Agha-Soltan from Iran.