Military Review English Edition November-December 2015 - Page 26

and the emergence of private media were suppressed, which left many Iranian journalists and writers no venue to publish their work.20 Of 0.8 note, at the time, the state-run radio and television system was the second-largest broadcaster in all of Asia. 0.6 Every household had a radio, and 70 percent had a television set.21 The lack of venues for public 0.4 discourse led all sectors of Iranian society to seek alternatives. One 0.2 consequence was that the mosques in every neighborhood became social platforms for exchanging ideas, 0.0 somewhat similar to how social Vertical media sources Horizontal media sources Personal history and preferences media connect people today. The expanded significance of the mosque as a place of discourse, exchange 2008 U.S. Presidential 2012 U.S. Presidential 1968 U.S. Presidential Election Election Election of ideas, and debate enabled communities to set their own agendas horizontally, among friends, neighFigure 5. Agenda Community Attraction Scores bors, relatives, and peers. Most often, for All Voters in Three Elections these agendas ran counter to the topdown disseminated agenda of the and television—were under the control of the monshah. As a result, dissatisfied communities began to arch, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi of Iran, who used form and organize around agendas of shared views them to orchestrate development of the “great civilizaover issues resulting in the beginnings of organized tion” under the direction of government policy.18 The opposition to the government. It was tinder waiting shah ’s great civilization policy—sometimes called the for a spark. As depicted in figure 4, Iran was sliding Westernization of Iran—was a series of reforms, initiatdown the vertical media agenda from dominant staed by his father Reza Shah Pahlavi, aimed at modernizbility toward what, it turned out, was a transitional ing and secularizing the Iranian society. To enforce social period, and then a revolution. change, the shah attempted to use mass media—which he controlled—to stigmatize as backward the traditional Example of using a “New” Medium values and ways of Iranian communities in contrast to to Foment Revolt the supposedly forward-looking and progressive values of The exiled dissident Ayatollah Ruhollah the West. One of the unintended effects was to create a Khomeini, who later became the leader of the Iranian sense of frustration and inferiority among many Iranian Revolution, used one of the new and most advanced citizens, especially among the Iranian intelligentsia as transportable technologies available to the public well as the clerical class, which in turn created a wellat the time—audiocassette tapes—to disseminate spring of bitter resentment against both the shah and the his revolutionary messages among the increasWest in general.19 ingly discontented Persian population.22 Most of Although the demand for newspapers was growKhomeini’s messages sent from exile (in Iraq from ing during this time period as a result of an increas1963 to 1978 and in France from 1978 to 1979) came ingly better-educated population, the circulation of recorded on audiocassette tapes smuggled into Iran daily newspapers was not. Instead, the public dissent and then reproduced or transcribed and copied for Correlation 1.0 24 November-December 2015  MILITARY REVIEW