Environmentalists are the latest target of crackdowns by a powerful yet paranoid faction of the Iranian regime that seems to believe that progress of any kind is a threat to the Islamic Republic’s national security. This assault on science is the most ridiculous of many such campaigns conducted by hardliners in the past, but the stakes, arguably, have never been higher.Several conservationists were arrested earlier this year. One of them — Kavous Seyed-Emami, a dual Iranian-Canadian national — died mysteriously after several weeks in custody. Iranian authorities say he died by suicide, but few are convinced.
His death rightly unleashed an uproar.… Seguir leyendo »
Iran has long been a leader in the ugly industry of silencing journalists within and beyond its borders, but Saudi Arabia’s murder of Jamal Khashoggi inside the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul earlier this month eclipses even Tehran’s depraved treatment of reporters.
Theoretically, the Saudis’ blunder could give Iran a rare opportunity to improve its international standing by correcting its abysmal record on free expression and distancing itself from the growing repression of the media by its Arab and Turkish neighbors.
Early indications, though, are that Iran is determined to continue its tradition of silencing reporters on the flimsiest charges. The detention of journalist Pouyan Khoshhal is the latest example.… Seguir leyendo »
Two journalists in Myanmar have been imprisoned for nearly a year for after exposing the massacre of Rohingya Muslims. But this isn’t just a story about press freedom. It also underscores some of the greatest challenges facing the relationship between governments and the people they govern.
“We’re seeing more and more laws that criminalize speech and increasingly zealous prosecution under those laws in many countries,” human rights lawyer Amal Clooney told me last week in New York. “Governments who are not well-meaning will do whatever they can get away with. So the question is: Is there a proper international response? Do they have something to fear?… Seguir leyendo »
Even though Iran has long been involved in disinformation, it hasn’t exactly managed to distinguish itself in the field. Iranian propaganda is generally a mess.
That history offers a useful filter for this week’s revelations from Facebook, Twitter and now Google about Iran’s disinformation campaigns on social media.
Working with our industry peers today, we have suspended 284 accounts from Twitter for engaging in coordinated manipulation. Based on our existing analysis, it appears many of these accounts originated from Iran.
— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) August 22, 2018
A familiar paradox presents itself: The same country that shuns the notion of free expression at home is happy to turn other countries’ free media to its own benefit.… Seguir leyendo »
On Friday, 18 influential Iranian women living in the West, published an open letter to FIFA calling on the organization that governs international soccer to help put an end to a decades-old ban on women attending male sporting events in Iran.
The issue has become a major story line at this year’s World Cup being held in Russia, as women inside Iran push for the right to attend games freely. “The disconnect between the people of Iran and the government of Iran on this issue is glaring: Iran’s is a celebratory culture; even as the people face serious economic and political strains, they are jubilant as they watch their team,” the letter states.… Seguir leyendo »
On Wednesday, Iran’s leading human rights lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, was arrested again. It was a reminder that President Hassan Rouhani is failing to deliver on many of the key reforms he promised when he was elected in 2013.
Writing on his Facebook page, Sotoudeh’s husband, Reza Khandan, announced that “a few hours ago Nasrin was arrested at home and sent to the court at Evin [Prison].”
This family has been through all of this before. “I once told interrogators in the interrogation room: ‘Of all the things the authorities should do for their country, you only know one, and that is arresting people,’” Khandan fearlessly wrote in his post.… Seguir leyendo »
Last weekend, as Nicaragua’s police brutally cracked down on protesters demonstrating against President Daniel Ortega, journalist Angel Gahona was presenting a related story on Facebook Live. During the middle of his report, a shot rang out. The image from his cellphone stopped working.
He had taken a bullet in the head. Shortly thereafter, he was pronounced dead on arrival at a local hospital. Yet another journalist killed for doing his job — while doing his job — as the state of free expression around the world continues its downward spiral.
Today, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) releases its 2018 World Press Freedom Index, an annual review of 180 countries and their relationship with the media.… Seguir leyendo »
Last week three journalists were killed in rural areas of India. You probably haven’t heard much about their deaths — or their lives — since they all worked for small local outlets, covering powerful interests who may have decided it was easier to murder them than to face their questions.
Their killers are unlikely to face justice. The issues the three journalists covered so passionately will continue to plague Indian society. And observers will mourn the slow decline of free expression in the world’s largest democracy.
Navin Nischal and Vijay Singh were run over by a car in Bihar state. Sandeep Sharma, a television journalist in Madhya Pradesh, was riding his motorcycle when he was hit by a truck.… Seguir leyendo »
A month after the grisly double murder of investigative journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancee, Martina Kusnirova, the aftershocks continue to reverberate throughout Slovakia, underscoring the country’s struggles with corruption but also the vital importance of the quest to uncover it.
The murders have been met with universal condemnation and outrage inside Slovakia and throughout the European Union. Kuciak was the first journalist ever to be killed for his work in Slovakia’s 25 years as an independent state. Until now, it had enjoyed a reputation as a country where expression was generally tolerated.
The report that Kuciak was working on — a meticulous account of the ties between government officials and an Italian mafia syndicate accused of defrauding the E.U.… Seguir leyendo »
For years, staffers of the BBC’s Iranian-language services — and their family members back in Iran — have endured threats to their safety and liberty. Last week the BBC took extraordinary and unprecedented action. It filed a complaint with the United Nation Human Rights Commission on behalf of 152 employees of its Persian-language service against the government of the Islamic Republic, hoping to halt a systematic campaign to silence journalists.
The problem isn’t new. But the broadcaster decided it had to act publicly last November, after Iran’s judiciary moved in August to seize the assets of Persian Service staffers and blocked financial transactions between them and their family members in Iran.… Seguir leyendo »