It goes without saying that the presence of the foreign media in Tunisia, Egypt and even now in Libya contributed (and in Libya’s case, is contributing) to the increasing momentum of the opposition. It also helped reveal (and again in Libya’s case, is revealing) the true nature of the dictatorship and its abuses of the civilian population. After all, we all remember the image of Anderson Cooper being beaten on the streets of Cairo and the near miss air strike against CNN’s crew in Libya. Those images have left, and will leave, their indelible mark on the world’s collective conscience. But what about Iran? All major foreign news agencies and reporters are banned from Iran. The only evidence of IRI’s crimes against the Iranian people are the grainy cell phone videos that are posted on YouTube. The people of Iran have no means with which they can broadcast the brutality of the regime. And to make it worst, the regime has its massive propaganda empire and uses its various media operations to get its message out and to portray the demonstrators, and to frame the protests, in its own image.
What is further outrageous in this whole equation is that notwithstanding its abuses of foreign media, and its total ban of major foreign media’s presence in Iran, IRI officials routinely appear on the same foreign media outlets to push their views. Ahmadinejad gets interviewed by every major network every September when he arrives in the U.S. for the UN General Assembly, and IRI’s representatives appear on CNN and AL-Jazeera to push its agenda and its point of view. This is patently unfair to the Iranian people.
Here’s what I propose: let’s tell the world’s media to immediately end all interactions with IRI officials until they allow unrestricted access to foreign journalists inside Iran. This means no interviews, no appearances and not even quotes from any IRI official until the IRI allows full access to foreign journalists to travel to Iran and to report from them without any restrictions.
The IRI only understands tit-for-tat and language of consequence. The only way that it will agree to do anything resembling the right thing is for it to be threatened with some sort of a consequence. And it is also very propaganda oriented. Ahmadinejad basks in the joy every time he is interviewed by Larry King and the like. Taking that opportunity away from them will have some effect.
So, take a moment to contact media representatives around the world, ABC News, NBC, CBS, CNN, Fox News, BBC, DW, and any other news outlet that you can think of. Tell them to boycott the IRI and its officials until they allow unrestricted access to the world media inside Iran. Let’s see if we can make a difference for our brothers and sisters in Iran and put a dent in IRI’s propaganda machine.