Radical Instrument

IT is changing the exercise of power. Radical Instrument is picking up the signals.

Valentine’s Day roundup: more Iranian netroots, Saudi Arabia and satellite TV, and net piracy…

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1.  John Kelly and Bruce Etling have updated their map of the Iranian blogosphere, noting a dramatic change in what they’re now calling the “CyberShia” cluster. The authors note that this could represent a debate around Islamic law, or may reflect an effort by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps to recruit 10,000 bloggers (the cyber-equivalent of opening a Starbucks on every corner?).

2.  King Abdullah has fired Saudi Arabia’s most senior judge, who last year opened the legal door to the killing of satellite channel owners airing “evil” programming. This may be a little more than Wahhabism vs. skin. As The Guardian noted last fall, several channels are owned by royal family members, and the judge’s fatwa was issued on a radio program. A year prior to the fatwa, the issue with satellite programming wasn’t so much debauchery as it was “programs related to witchcraft,” threatening the religious establishment:

“The popularity of charlatanism and magic has increased amongst Arab satellite channels, which, in turn, has led to an increase in the number of charlatans. These individuals aim to give off an image of a pious sheikh who can solve individual problems. There are others who have a strong sense of persuasion that has been learnt throughout many years of experience. His/her viewers feel compelled to watch and listen as if they have hypnotized the words and become convinced of his/her abilities to solve their problems.”

3.  The Pirate Bay goes on trial Monday. Wired’s Threat Level provides the details…suffice to say that the case has significant implications for cross-border copyright law, possibly raising more questions than answers. The operators of this BitTorrent tracking service have indicated that the service will live, regardless of the verdict, raising yet more questions about legal boundaries and enforceability.

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Written by Mark

February 14, 2009 at 10:53 am

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