On Monday February 14, RFE/RL
Senior Correspondent and Iran expert Golnaz Esfandiari participated in a discussion hosted by the National Democratic Institute
(NDI) entitled “The Role of Citizen Journalism and Social Media in the Middle East and North Africa
.” The topical event included several NDI officers, as well as Tunisian digital activist Houieda Anouar and Raed Jarrar, an Iraqi-American blogger and political activist based out of DC.
Esfandiari, who also edits RFE’s Persian Letters
blog, emphasized that social media is a tool, not a catalyst for change. While she attributes the relative traction of the 2009 Green Revolution in Iran to the increasing availability of social media, she also posited that too often activists become “stuck in the virtual realm” due to fear of persecution in the real world.
For more information, see the Project On Middle East Democracy’s comprehensive write-up
of the event.