News flash of openness

The unusual candour of Iran’s reporting of street protests and the downing of a Ukrainian flight.

The World Today Published 10 February 2020 Updated 2 November 2020 3 minute READ

Tse Yin Lee

Senior journalist and author, BBC Monitoring

If you read and watch Iranian media on a regular basis, you will be struck by how tightly controlled it is.

The official broadcast media, for example, are there to support the ideology and interests of the state. The ‘independent’ media operate within strict red lines and adopt a ‘safety-first’, self-censorship approach.

In normal times, the state-run broadcast media, as well as print and online, follow a predictable script. State censorship is strict and widespread. The head of Iran’s state broadcaster is appointed by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader, and much flows from this direct control.

Furthermore, respect for Islam dictates that the country’s religious figures, as well as top military officers, are beyond criticism.

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