Relaciones Internacionales – Comunicación Internacional

Covering Iran`s unrest (THE WASHINGTON POST)

| 0 Comentarios


As the government tightens its grip on the press and protesters, journalists rely on distant contacts and navigate misinformation to tell the story

For more than two months, journalist Golnaz Esfandiari has been reporting nonstop on the protests and brutal crackdowns erupting across Iran — from more than 2,500 miles away in Prague.

It’s not easy. With foreign press virtually absent inside Iran — where authorities are arresting local journalists, restricting internet access and allegedly spreading misinformation online — distant correspondents such as Esfandiari face a deluge of challenges in getting accurate news about Iran to the rest of the world.

So she and her colleagues at Persian-language Radio Farda use secure messaging apps to communicate with their network of sources inside Iran, who could be jailed for speaking to the media. They spend hours analyzing videos from Iran to verify their authenticity. And they interview the families of protesters who have been killed.

“These people are really risking everything to send us videos of the protests,” Esfandiari said. “And they come speak to us because they trust us, and they know the state media are never going to give them a platform.”

The protests, sparked by the September death of a Kurdish Iranian woman, Mahsa Amini, while in the custody of Iran’s “morality police,” have morphed into one of the most sustained challenges to the Islamic republic’s governance in decades. Authorities have responded harshly; thousands of Iranians have been arrested — at least six of them sentenced to death so far — while hundreds have been killed on the street, according to estimates kept by human rights groups.

Western news organizations have been almost entirely shut out of the country by state restrictions and security concerns. Meanwhile, the government has arrested more than 60 Iranian journalists, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. Niloofar Hamedi and Elahe Mohammadi, among the reporters who helped break the story of Amini’s death, were charged with acting as CIA spies, an offense punishable by the death penalty.

But the journalists covering the uprising from afar have been amazed that, despite the many risks, ordinary people from Iran are still sharing video footage.

“We never have seen it before like this,” said Jiyar Gol, a Kurdish Iranian journalist for the BBC reporting the story from London. “They really want the world to know about what is going on. People don’t fear anymore.”

Gol established contact with Amini’s family in September and managed to send a contact inside Iran to facilitate an interview with her father. In a broadcast on BBC Persian, Amjad Amini hotly denied the official state story that his daughter suffered “sudden heart failure” after she was arrested for supposedly failing to wear a hijab according to the Islamic republic’s rules; he said witnesses told the family that she was beaten.

“He was so brave,” Gol said. “Despite intimidation and threat and the danger of being put in prison, he refused to remain silent, and he talked to us.”

Still, the dangerous climate makes it difficult for journalists to capture the scope of the government crackdowns, and it makes them unable to independently verify figures such as death tolls, having to rely on human rights organizations for much information.

It can take news organizations weeks to nail down details of events in places where their reporters could not travel. As many as 96 people were gunned down by government forces outside a prayer complex in the southeastern Iranian city of Zahedan on Sept. 30, according to the New York Times, an incident that had “been largely concealed from Iranians by an internet blackout.” But it wasn’t until Oct. 14 that the paper confirmed enough of the incident, through witness testimony and videos, to publish its investigation. The Washington Post and CNN have also published investigations of events that took place weeks prior using similar methods.

Evin on fire: What really happened inside Iran’s most notorious prison

Social media has played a crucial yet complex role. The primary method for people inside Iran to get information out, it has also enabled the spread of false information.



Deja una respuesta

Campos requeridos marcados con *.

Este sitio usa Akismet para reducir el spam. Aprende cómo se procesan los datos de tus comentarios.