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Iranian Journalists' View on Coverage of Protests

Iranian Journalists' View on Coverage of Protests

Monday, 15 January, 2018 - 09:00
People protest in Tehran, Iran December 30, 2017 in this picture obtained from social media. REUTERS.

Iranian media outlets are one more time facing an uneasy test to evaluate their credibility and their readiness to cover internal crises.

One month ago, Iranian citizens started protesting against the high cost of living. During electoral campaigns, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei warned against altercations among officials through media platforms and social movements.

The war wasn’t restricted to authorities and social media. For its part, the media was a battlefield arena for official and unofficial media -- Iranian channels only reported a number of news from Iranian officials while Persian channels outside Iran showed a totally different coverage.

In this context, Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper surveilled Iranian journalists about the Iranian media performance in covering the protests.

Iran Seeks Imposing Censorship on Foreign Media Outlets

Reza Moini, the head of Reporters Without Borders (RSF) 's Iran/Afghanistan desk, told Asharq Al-Awsat in a phone call that the coverage of the protests in Iran was influenced by "Iran's policy of internationalizing censorship", pointing out that authorities are trying through intimidation to publish Iranian internal news in foreign media.

“We are facing two realities. We don’t have free independent internal channels to report news. Some international channels that provide a Persian service represent a more independent source,” Moini stated.

Based on previous data published by RSF regarding this topic, Moini stated that there are attempts to seize these channels, noting that the Iranian regime is threatening journalists working with them and tempting others. “If I were to give an example about attempts to control foreign media, I would compare news published by Reuters and AFP,” he said. Moini pointed out that AFP has an office in Tehran and is being pressured.

According to Moini, any journalist who goes to Iran faces double pressures if he has a dual nationality, and if he has a single nationality then he would be fasced with files against the channel or newspaper he works for.

As for restrictions made on the Internet, he saw that the regime suffers from paradoxical positions towards the media. It gains money from the iIternet, but at the same time imposes restrictions on citizens’ freedoms.

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