In less than 48 hours Iran will be marking the 31st anniversary of the 1979 revolution that brought the Islamic Republic system to Iran. Massive opposition protests are planned to coincide with the event.
The government of Mr. Khamenei in Iran has been preparing to stage bought and paid for pro-government rallies.
Please–I implore you–be very careful not to unwittingly become amplifiers for Islamic Republic government propoganda!
Make no mistake, what you do–how you report the story–will have a profound impact on events in Iran, with direct consequences for the rest of the world. This is because the government of Mr. Khamenei is waging a war against the people of Iran. As a part of this war, they are engaging in a war against journalists and the media. Iran has become the biggest prison for journalists in the entire world. The government of Iran calls this a “soft” war, or a battle for hearts and minds. The only way they can win this battle is by trying to instill profound fear into the hearts and minds of the people of Iran. They would love nothing more than for you, the media, to fumble the story and portray them as having a strong base of support. The people of Iran are trying to get the real story out–the story of the massive uprising against this government.
If you have been issued a press pass and given permission to enter Iran and cover the events of the 31st anniversary of the Islamic revolution, please realize that the government will only allow you to show their version of the story.
They have been working feverishly since the last massive opposition protests that occurred on December 27, 2009 (the Ashura protests) to lay the groundwork for a media blitz that will attempt to drown out the real story, which is that the Iranian people have consistently for the past 8 months since the blatantly rigged presidential election in June of 2009, shouted to the world that they do not want this government!
The opposition, a vast, diverse and multifaceted group of Iranians will yet again face the real possibility of being beaten-up, shot at, run-over, arrested, tortured, raped and killed in a struggle for their basic rights as human beings: freedom, justice and the right pursue happiness. They will be out en masse in the streets of Tehran, and other cities throughout the country, peacefully protesting.
Citizen journalists will provide the real story. You can catch it on Twitter if you follow the #IranElection and #22Bahman hashtags. Iran News Now and other sites will provide live-blogging coverage of the real story.
If you plan on airing footage of the so-called “pro-government” rallies, please be aware that the people you see in these rallies are largely bought and paid for by the government. Many of them work for the government and are mandated or (to put it euphemistically) strongly “encouraged” to attend. Some are paid and others are bribed or coerced. What you will see is a tiny fraction of the 70 million Iranians who the government was able to muster to present the illusion of popular support gathered together and goaded by huge loudspeakers to chant anti-American vitriol and their undying support for “the leader”. Also, these people do not have to face the possibility of beatings, torture, rape and death for voicing their “opinion”. If you plan on showing Islamic Republic government sponsored gatherings and propoganda, please make sure you clearly report to your viewership that these events are staged by the government, and please report on the severe repression imposed by the government on the REAL protests AGAINST the government
The government of Iran is waging a media war. Those in Iran who are putting their lives at stake to have their voices heard ask only that you report the truth, and do your due diligence in framing the story.
Freedom for the people of Iran is in the best interest of the entire world.
Please, don’t become stooges for the government of Mr. Khamenei and his cast of sycophant puppets. Please do not repeat the mistakes of people like Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett, western apologists for the Islamic Republic. Do you jobs well and report the truth. Use the new media (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and others) to help you get at it.
In less than 48 hours, Iranians will show the world, as they have consistently done so over the past 8 months, that they do not want to live under tyranny.
All they ask is that those of us outside of Iran help them get their message out.