Giving Compass' Take:

• Al Jazeera reports on how mobile technology has begun transforming Iran, with some mobile apps disseminating human rights information to citizens.

• Organizations in the civil society space should pay attention to the new generation in politically restrictive states and see how the use of social media has opened up a more inclusive conversation.

• For example, find out how one free app is helping Iranian women tackle domestic violence.

A popular uprising took hold of Iran in the final week of 2017, with thousands taking to the streets to protest against the dire economic situation in the country.

Using smartphone apps such as Telegram and Instagram, demonstrators quickly spread their message, and within days, protests erupted in dozens of cities across Iran.

In the government crackdown that followed, more than 25 people were killed and hundreds arrested.

The spread of protests once again showed the power of technology and social media, highlighted by repeated efforts by the government to block access to the mobile apps used by the protesters.

After realising the potential of these apps, many in Iran — a country with about 48 million smartphones — are looking at ways to leverage technology in their pursuit of civil liberties.

One of the latest apps is Hafez, which translates as "to protect". Named after the famous Persian poet whose words frequently targeted religious hypocrisy, the app offers users a collection of human rights-related information.

Foremost, it is a virtual rolodex of human rights lawyers in Iran, which allows users to access legal information regarding human rights.


Read the full article about how new mobile apps are shaping Iran's civil society by Yarno Ritzen at