The Revolution Live from LAJune 23, 2009 - 5:38 PM | by: Adam Housley
We are live at Iranian Channel 1 in Los Angeles as they broadcast live via satellite into the Islamic Republic. They are one of the few voices of opposition on the airwaves that get signals into Iran. I have some pictures and links to video they are receiving through amazing little pens. Here’s the story…and a picture sent here to Los Angeles of a woman taking a cell phone picture of flowers outside of Neda’s home in Tehran. The video of her killing has become the face of this uprising.
Thousands of miles away from Iran, a little television station is on the front lines of a digital revolution inside the Republic. We first profiled Iranian Channel 1 seven years ago and now once again they have become a force for information to the people inside the walls of Iran. The hard-line and brutal Iranian leadership does its best to scramble the signal and harshly punish anyone associated with Ch.1, but still through the wonder of technology, the station finds a way to circumnavigate the censorship and voice opposition to people thirsting for democracy.
As we are live here the fiance’ of Neda calls into the program from inside Tehran. Just doing so put’s his life at risk. He tells the story of his soon to be wife, a woman frustrated by religious rules that many in Iran do not identify with. He says she once studied religion, only to drop out of college due to the harsh regulations woman and others face inside Iran.
We also meet people like Baboos. Imagine walking 2 weeks through the mountains of Iran just to survive and arrive in the country of Turkey where you know no one and do that at just 16 years old. Now in his late thirties, his whole family eventually joined him here in Southern California, the largest community outside of Iran. Baboos has a story replicated by thousands upon thousands of Iranians exiled around the world. They watch this network and call in from Canada, Europe, across America and of course from inside Iran.
Now back to those pens. About 8 months ago, Channel 1’s owners sent 10,000 of these pens to people inside of Iran. They capture 2o minutes of video and/or sound. Here is a quick video I just threw together to show you the pens first hand.
From the time we arrived about 6:15am here local time until the time we left around 5pm, the phone lines are full at Channel 1. Calls coming from all over the United States and world. Callers from Canada are followed by those inside the oppressive regime. We have been told that the people are being warned not to use the pens in the open and a new device, one we cannot mention for fear of retribution on those who use it, has been sent by station owners. They tell me verification is somewhat easy. Videos are sent many times by people they know, or are familiar with and others can be identified by looking at landmarks and closely watching for possible edits.
As we leave many here at this Iranian network are also leaving, heading for a massive rally planned at the federal building in Westwood. Channel 1 is definitely a voice not only inside the wall of Iran, but clearly here as well.