9 آبان 1391

Review of Int’l Digital Media Exhibit in Iran

Fear from Modern Media, Cyber Control and Prescriptive Approach

30 October 2012

Reported by AtefehAmiri

Translated by Rose Arjmand

Khabarnegaran.info-The Iranian capital Tehranserved as a venue to host the 6th International Digital Media Exhibition. Scheduled for October 7to 16, the fair hosted Iranian as well as international companies at the site of Tehran’s Grand Prayer Grounds to promote international and local media based on indigenous, national and Islamic culture.

The decor of the Tehran’s Grand Prayer Grounds has been changed according to the theme of the exhibit. However, a sign catches visitors’ eyes reading: “too much of attention to modern media distance us from beautiful moments of life.” In the background of the billboard you can see a man talking on a mobile who is standing far from his family.

Another sign reads “Internet consumption; 2 hours a day” and a painting of a bottle of medicine is seen. Internet addiction and Facebook rehab are the theme of the most used messages in the exhibit. Flyers reading “Computer Knights are in an Ambush to Destroy Iranian-Islamic Culture” were spread among people.

These messages imply the general mindset behind the exhibit. It was held in seven categories including: “Digital Publishing,” “Online Media,” “International Media,” “Family and Digital Media,” “Mobile Applications,” Threats and Opportunities,” and “Digital Arts and Technology”. “Digital Publishing” had 159 stands which reveal their personality and identity in their titles; namely “Research Centre of Isfahan HawzaIlmyya” and “Revelation Angels”. A few of the stands were for foreign language institutes.

“Online Media” had 77 stands. A few of them were introducing Persian email service providers. National Homeland was one of the national/Persian email providers introduced to the visitors. Domestic social networks like Tebyan.net, Sangariha.com,Afsaran.ir, Iteg.ir. A number of the stands were dedicated to various ranges of information websites from religious website to political websites. BarackObama.ir is one of these websites. A lady was present at the BarackObama.ir stand. When I asked her about the website, she says that it is a personal website and the contents are the latest updates on the US.

Khabarnegran reporter asked the lady to show her the website. However, the lady said the internet connection is disconnected and she could show us the website.

I chose to the international section of the exhibit to get away from the obvious political approach that shows internet a poisonous tool and questions the technology.

The first stand is the “Islamic Centre of Brazil”. The head of the stand says: “our association is based in Sao Paulo. We cover all our Muslim community’s needs from promoting Islamic publications to exsanguination. More than a million Muslims live in Sao Paulo. Our association also dubs Iranian film to Brazilian Portuguese.”

Hezbollah also has a stand which is decorated by a massive poster of Hassan Nasrallah. The Shia centers in Rwanda as well as Bosnia and Herzegovina were also active in the exhibit. Bangladesh stand was a quite different. They tried to promote their efforts to fight violation against children.

“Threats and Opportunities” was another section at the exhibit which was dedicated to online pathology. Video game pathololgy, online addiction tests, online movement to support Iran are among the online campaigns promoted in the exhibit.

Cyber-journalism, digital media, electronic public relations (e-PR), IT management, digital citizen and digital cities were also mentioned at the exhibit.

As the Iranian Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Mohammad Hosseinisaid at the opening ceremony of the International Digital Media Fair in Teharan on October 6, 2011, “we have witness numerous changes in the digital media. If the changed are managed well, the virtual environment would be managed well too. We must ensure and secure a healthy virtual environment.

The exhibit raised various questions. Is this an introduction to Halal Internet promised by the Iranian authorities? Is How can such a controlled and prescriptive approach lead to a fruitful management in the world of internet? I take a second look at the poster that prescribed two hours of internet per day and leave the exhibit.

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