What the West Isn't Hearing About
Foreign Policy / Azadeh Moaveni

In July 2009, the Tehran fixer for a non-Western TV network had his hand chopped off with a machete by a pro-Iranian regime militant. His bosses stayed quiet: They knew if they spoke up, the Iranian authorities would shut down their bureau.This was no isolated tragedy. In the year since President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's disputed reelection sent millions of protesters into the streets of Tehran in what came to be known as the Green Movement, journalists have found increasingly formidable obstacles to doing their job. Getting the real story out of Iran today is virtually impossible.
Instead, we are all -- to one degree or another -- in danger of misreading Tehran. And if at first the Western media seemed to overinflate the Green Movement, declaring a "revolution" and pumping up the expectation for regime change beyond all reasonable hope, some of what we're reading now is what the Iranian government wants us to read: a portrait of a quiescent country whose recent unrest was merely an irrelevant temper tantrum by sushi-eating, Chanel-clad north Tehran. Sadly, reporters who underplay the serious repression still present in Tehran -- whether those intimidated by the government, or those simply seeking better access or the ability to move more freely -- provide powerful ammunition to analysts in Washington who may now be tempted to dismiss Iran's Green Movement as a construct of deluded partisan journalists. This dangerous dynamic -- compromised journalism abettin... >>>

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