It is nearly impossible to know through traditional media sources what is happening on the ground in places that we can not see. This opinion piece by an Iranian film maker gives a rebuke to American politicians for not doing simple things to assist in Iranian democracy, like supporting Voice of America broadcasting to give yearning democracies information and inspiration that they need. We read mostly about the sanctions, etc., but are closed off to the paradigmatic shift of fueling the revolution in Iran. I am sure that these things have been considered by the President and State Department, and it would not surprise me to hear that activities in this vein do take place. But as a citizen and reader of the newspaper, I am reminded of just how difficult it is to get other sides of the story. Twitter and other forms of social media really can be powerful in opening up these other sides, but I feel that they are too one-off in nature as to be almost cloaking the discovery of any broader truths as the minutiae can overwhelm the senses. This is, of course, is the value that traditional media sources provide, to aggregate concepts and points of view as well as to provide editorial value to a topic. So, the key is for various new media platforms and sources of news to actually be brought to bear in a way that might enter into the mainstream conversation – – the audience reach is still much larger in traditional media sources, and likely will be until a sufficiently competent manner to aggregate and editorialize non-traditional sources is achieved.
Mohsen Makhmalbaf: How the West Can Help Iran’s Green Movement