Iran: Zanan TV Launches!

Zanan TV  was launched on 25 November 2011, International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. This day was chosen because Zanan TV is an alternative space for marginalized women who are violated by the state and silenced by mainstream media in Iran. It is a space for building the women’s movement and the democracy movement in Iran.

Zanan TV was launched at Zuccotti Park Encampment, the alternative space created by Occupy Wall Street Movement. We believe this was the right place to launch Zanan TV, because of many similarities between Iranian cyber-activism and the Occupy Wall Street Movement. Occupy Wall Street activists occupy a public area -- a square or a public park -- and change the character of this space into a location where the organization of the movement takes place. Cyber-activists occupy cyber-space in social networks and websites where they change the character of these for the purpose of movement building. The occupation of spaces to enable activist voices to be heard is a strategic process for movement building. Without such spaces, activists would not be able to come together to speak out, express their views, and share their visions of the future.

To see the launch of Zanan TV in the alternative space created by Occupy Wall Street Movement, please go here.

As an alternative medium of Iranian citizens, Zanan TV aims to build:

  • An empowering space for strengthening feminist discourses
  • Common ground based on gender-equitable democracy as a key value shared by different pro-democracy activists
  • Linkages between Iran’s democracy movement and transnational movements, including Arab movements for democratization (the so-called “Arab Spring”) and the Occupy Wall Street Movement against capitalism

Zanan TV is the successor of important websites created by the Iranian women’s movement, including Zanan-e Iran, Feminist Tribute, Change for EqualityWomen’s FieldThe Feminist School and, most recently, Fair Family Law. As alternative platforms that developed social actions, campaigns and feminist discourses, these websites significantly influenced the democracy movement in Iran. As their successor, Zanan TV aims to be in the vanguard of the women’s movement in Iran.

Zanan TV is launched after year-long work on technical engineering and the development of a theoretical framework for alternative feminist media as well as new techniques for participatory citizen journalism. Zanan TV’s on-air programmes include weekly news analyses and documentary films, as well as live coverage of relevant conferences, meetings and protests. On demand is anarchive of videos related to women’s issues. Although some videos are accessible on YouTube or other websites, these are now newly compiled, categorized and made easily accessible on Zanan TV for users interested in women’s studies, human rights and democracy from a citizen’s perspective. Feminist analysis of the videos in this archive will strengthen the feminist perspective of younger women’s rights activists.

Most of the videos we produce include footage of citizen journalists as active participants in the work of Zanan TV. The participation of Iranian citizens inside or outside the country is vital to the making of Zanan TV as alternative citizen TV – an innovative space for the women’s movement and the democracy movement in Iran.

Zanan TV is currently hosted by the Institute for Women’s Empowerment (IWE) and supported by HIVOS. We welcome your comments and criticisms.