In recent years, Iran has experienced a series of nationwide protests that have shaken the foundations of the ruling regime.
While the protests have been sparked by various issues, including corruption, economic hardships, and the regime’s draconian laws, they are backed by decades of outrage toward the regime’s suppression of the most basic freedoms.
The protests have been met with a heavy-handed response from the regime, with thousands killed and thousands more arrested.
The protests have significantly impacted the regime. They have highlighted the deep dissatisfaction of most of society with the current dictatorship and the need for change.
The protests have also exposed divisions and fear within the ruling elite, with some officials and regime supporters expressing uncertainty about the supreme leader’s policies.
The protests have also profoundly impacted Iranian society. They have brought together people from different social and economic backgrounds, including students, workers, and the urban poor. The protests have challenged the regime’s efforts to sow division between different ethnicities and faiths.
They have also highlighted the important role of women in society, with women and girls taking leading roles in protests toward the overthrow of the regime.
In tandem with this change, the Iranian people are facing ruthless and rampant information warfare, creating obstacles to democratic change.
One of the disinformation and censorship campaigns is led by the regime and foreign-backed Persian language outlets and media that are run by currents that do not seek regime change.
This campaign aims to harm the popular movement by creating desperation and de-escalating the nationwide protests. They selectively broadcast news and create narratives that promote some sort of compromise with the regime and its leading institutions, such as the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC).
Therefore, they censor news of protests that call for the overthrow of the regime and a rejection of all forms of dictatorship.
The unlawful aspect of this censorship is evident when it aids the survival of Iran’s repressive regime. The Iranian government’s infiltration of these media is so conspicuous that it requires no further examination.
Their disinformation campaign and censorship mainly target the regime’s main opposition group the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) and the people’s slogans that deny any form of totalitarianism and non-secular solutions to the regime.
Amid the peak of the uprising and the regime’s ruthless killing of youths and even children in the streets, these media outlets focused on other news to downplay the events on the streets.
For example, they tried to portray the protests as being limited to the forced hijab rules of the regime. This was complemented by online campaigns that attacked anyone who wore any kind of hijab.
For example, following the death of Hadith Najafi, one of the youths who was killed by security forces, her family was attacked by social media users that are often promoted by these outlets for wearing a headscarf during her funeral. This led the family to react and defend themselves against the offensive remarks.
Although these media appeared to be professional, they engaged in unprofessional censorship of news, slogans, and activities related to the uprising, which would be puzzling to an impartial observer.
For example, they did not air videos of protesters chanting ‘Death to the oppressor, whether the Shah or the [supreme] leader,’ even though it was one of the most popular slogans within Iran, following ‘Death to Khamenei’ and ‘Death to the dictator.’ Instead, they tried to portray Iranian society as regretting the 1979 revolution against the Shah regime.
Furthermore, these media selectively censored news regarding ethnic and religious minorities, including protests in Sistan & Baluchistan, and Kurdistan.
For instance, during the traditional fire festival known as Chaharshanbe Suri, these media outlets categorically censored the activities of protesters setting fire to the headquarters of the repressive IRGC and Basij across the country.
This censorship is also applied to the international activities and achievements of the MEK and the National Council Resistance of Iran (NCRI). In this case, they are all unanimous that they should be silent.
For example, on March 21, thousands of Iranians gathered in Brussels and demanded the designation of the IRGC as a terrorist organization, but the media did not write anything about it.
These media outlets also censored Resolution 100 (HRes. 100) co-sponsored by most of the U.S. Congress, which supports the Iranian people’s protests and their desire to establish a free, democratic, non-nuclear republic of Iran.
The resolution was presented and discussed in several important gatherings held in both Congress and the Senate and attended by prominent figures, including former US Vice President Mike Pence. Notably, 47 senators supported the resolution, but the media outlets chose to overlook the event.
This is why we are calling it the most merciless censorship in Iran’s history. But it is also a reminder that the Iranian people will rely on their own capacities, on their resistance movements, and on the brave Resistance Units to overthrow this regime and bring freedom and democracy to their country.