Skip to main content

Foreign Service Correspondent Thomas Erdbrink, writing yesterday in the Washington Post:

Iranian officials arrested a Japanese and two Canadian reporters during anti-government demonstrations this week and charged them with "unauthorized reporting," the semiofficial Fars News Agency reported Friday.

Is this an accurate report?

Erdbrink was not available for comment, but an assistant at the paper stated that the Fars News Agency is referred to as "semi-official" because it is considered to have ties to the government, and is not fully independent as the agency claims. This is likely standard form as well, as the BBC appears to similarly refer to the News Agency as "semi-official."  

The Post article also seems to suggest that the Fars News Agency is actually "state run" -- although it is not clear what this means. It is also suggested in Wikipedia that the news agency "is well known for saying lots of lies and for unreliability."

Either way, whether this report is hyping a threat, or, far more likely, represents the actual capture of foreign journalists, it is chilling news. 

Additionally, Erdbrink reports:

On Wednesday, authorities temporarily blocked all access to e-mail programs such as Gmail and Yahoo during the demonstrations to prevent people from sending images to foreign media organizations.

The Demonstrations, by those who don't think the current government is legitimate, were apparently in response to a state sanctioned event commemorating the 1979 Embassy takeover.

One wonders -- given the antipathy that we have seen from the far right toward President Obama (and likely would have seen toward a President Kerry) --   if the situation in 2004 were reversed, with Kerry winning, and disputed vote blocking measures propelling him to victory in the election swinging state of Ohio, what we would have seen in America subsequent to that.

At least on the protest side, would it have been much different than in Iran? 

Even today, the far right is doing everything possible to question the legitimacy of the current administation, regarding an election which had no real outcome controversies as otherwise occurred in both 2000 and 2004. 

Witness, as just one example, the incessant attachment to the "birther" assertion -- That Obama's birth certificate is "not real" and thus he can not be President, for one.  The antipathy toward the Obama Administration's legitimacy is so out of control that even a National Review Online article that mocks the birther controversy as "lunacy" itself then, incredibly, resurrects the question as "legitimate."

Although again not nearly as pronounced in the U.S, very vague similarities between our two countries appear on the news side as well:

As more and more corporate takeover of our news here is occasioned -- something which undermines our necessary Fourth Estate check upon everything but perhaps upon what is needed most by government (protecting capitalism by promoting free competition, and protecting for externalities such as the environment and possibly health and safety) -- maybe, to a much lesser degree, we are becoming more like Iran in the sense of Authoritarian, top down, and concentrated, power and control.

It is certainly what the increasingly vocal far right in this country seem to want. And this story is being repeatedly missed -- most of all, of course, by that same increasingly corporate conglomeration controlled media.

Which once again raises the question:  Why aren't the Democrats in Congress working aggressively to address our major media oligopoly and over corporitization problem?

Originally posted to Colt45 on Sun Nov 08, 2009 at 09:53 AM PST.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  All of these bad diaries are depressing. n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lazar

    Al que no le guste el caldo, le dan dos tazas.

    by Rich in PA on Sun Nov 08, 2009 at 09:56:29 AM PST

  •  Amy Goodman was arrested in Minneapolis (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marina

    covering the convention. The US has inprisoned, without charges, Al Jazeera reporters  for years. That's when its not bombing their headquarters in Kabul or Bagdad.

  •  Actually (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nextstep

    Which once again raises the question: Why aren't the Democrats in Congress working aggressively to address our major media oligopoly and over corporitization problem?

    it doesn't raise that question at all. What has a state affiliated news agency in a totalitarian theocracy got to do with corporate media monopolies?

    "The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die." - Ted Kennedy

    by Lazar on Sun Nov 08, 2009 at 10:17:16 AM PST

    •  Here I'd cut the diarist some slack ... (0+ / 0-)

      What has a state affiliated news agency in a totalitarian theocracy got to do with corporate media monopolies?

      There is a key parallel.  The clerics use their news agency to maintain their orthodoxy of belief in how their society should be structured.  The same could be said for the corporatocracy in America.  One touts Allah, the other, Santa.

    •  Try actually reading (0+ / 0-)

      As more and more corporate takeover of our news here is occasioned -- something which undermines our necessary Fourth Estate check upon everything but perhaps upon what is needed most by government (protecting capitalism by promoting free competition, and protecting for externalities such as the environment and possibly health and safety) -- maybe, to a much lesser degree, we are becoming more like Iran in the sense of Authoritarian, top down, and concentrated, power and control.

      It is certainly what the increasingly vocal far right in this country seem to want. And this story is being repeatedly missed -- most of all, of course, by that same increasingly corporate conglomeration controlled media.

      Which once again raises the question:  Why aren't the Democrats in Congress working aggressively to address our major media oligopoly and over corporitization problem?

      It was a clear reference to corpotate dominated media.  

      So yes, it does raise the question. The biggest easily rectifiable media problem in America is corporate media conglomeration.

      Maybe an indicia of why this has not beeen addressed, can be seen in the absolute idiocy of your commen; which is probably not a rare exception, frankly, of Democrats inability to see what the problem is and how to address it.

      It is why most on this site spend more time whining about things, and less time framing things correctly or focusing on how to solve the roots of problems, than anything else.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site