Once again facing a test, Iranian media outlets are being evaluated for their credibility and their readiness to cover internal crises, regarding their coverage of the recent protests against the government in Iran. Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper surveilled Iranian journalists about the Iranian media performance in covering the protests and published an article about what they found.
In a phone call, Reza Moini, the head of Reporters Without Borders (RSF) Iran/Afghanistan desk, told Asharq Al-Awsat that the coverage of the protests in Iran was influenced by “Iran’s policy of internationalizing censorship.” Moini stated, “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.”
RSF has previously published data on this topic, and based on it, Moini stated that there are attempts to seize these channels. Asharq Al-Awsat reports that he noted 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.
Any journalist who goes to Iran faces double pressures if he has a dual nationality, according to Moini, who claims that journalists with a single nationality are faced with files against the channel or newspaper for which he works.
Moini says he believes that the regime suffers from paradoxical positions towards the media and restrictions made on the Internet. He says that while it gains money from the Internet, at the same time it imposes restrictions on citizens’ freedoms.
The 2017 World Press Freedom Index compiled by Reporters Without Borders reflects a world in which attacks on the media have become commonplace. This is especially true in the Middle East, which has ongoing wars in Yemen as well as Syria, and continues to be the world’s most difficult and dangerous region for journalists.