A Blog Written By Roozbeh Mirebrahimi
Roozbeh Mirebrahimi, another alumnus of the CUNY program, worked for 10 years as a reporter and editor in Iran and was among the first journalists there to blog. In 2004 he was arrested and held in solitary confinement for two months, until he agreed to write a public confession saying he was a spy. In 2006 he left the country, ultimately landing in Brooklyn.
Mr. Mirebrahimi’s site, Iran dar Jahan (Iran in the World), features some original reporting, but its primary mission is to translate international news reports about Iran into Persian, so that Iranian readers can get a sense of what the world press has to say about their country. Iran had 28 million Web users as of 2009, according to the World Bank, the most in the Middle East. And while the government blocks access to Iran dar Jahan, many Iranians are adept at using proxy servers to gain access to banned sites. Mr. Mirebrahimi, who was sentenced in absentia by an Iranian court to two years in prison and 84 lashes, said his site had about 70,000 visitors a month.
“It would be impossible to do this kind of work inside Iran,” he said. “New York has been a great place to work from, because there are so many resources here and because the community is so welcoming to immigrants from all over the world.”
Of course, the ultimate dream for each of these far-flung publishers is to set off enough political change back home that exiles like themselves will one day be safe to return.
Read full story in The New York Times.
Photo: Chester Higgins Jr./The New York Times