Friday, February 25, 2005

blogging Iran, the price is paid - BBC

Iran jails blogger for 14 years

Millions of Iranians view the internet as a place to express themselves

An Iranian weblogger has been jailed for 14 years on charges of spying and aiding foreign counter-revolutionaries. Arash Sigarchi was arrested last month after using his blog to criticise the arrest of other online journalists.
Iranian authorities have arrested about 20 online journalists during the current crackdown.

They accused Mr Sigarchi of a string of crimes against Iranian state, including espionage, insulting the founder of Iran's Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomenei, and current Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

It's a crime to insult the Supreme Leader. In this case, he's been insulted. But how often has the penalty detered someone from insulting the Supreme Leader? Since it's a crime, isn't it safe to infer that there's plenty to criticize about the Supreme Leader? In a free and open society that's not the case. Criticism of the leader indicates the degree of greivances.

Robert's Rules of Order tell us to the debate the issue, not the person. But sometimes the person is the issue. When it comes to organizations I do think it is appropriate to set the standard that most criticism remains internal -- that it stays in the family. Otherwise, it becomes difficult for the leadership to take criticism, reflect upon, and respond in a way that is good for the organization.

Whistle blower protection does exist in some countries for employees who reveal misdeeds (or possible misdeeds) by their organization, government or private. Sometimes it is necessary to go public with your criticism. We know that organizations, government and private, do punish whistleblowing employees when they can. We know, too, that some whistleblowers are really just people who have a deserved reputation for an inability to get along well with others.

We can safely say, I think, this is not the case for Mr. Sigarchi.



Anonymous rollrollroll said...

14 years... typical "exile" term in Indian subcontinent. Do you read ?

6:24 PM  

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