Let’s Be Careful How We Report Blogger Arrests in Foreign Countries

by Rachel Baker on June 22, 2014

The source article for the story below was originally reported on aljazeera American on May 2nd, 2014, and the bloggers in question were actually arrested on December 3rd. Now, Engadget apparently just found the story and reported about it yesterday. More importantly, it looks like they are reporting this just because it may get their reader-base fired up. Okay, that’s fine; except that what they’ve reported sounds dangerously close to propoganda and not actual reporting.

The real conversation is not that the bloggers were doing anything wrong even in their country, but instead that they have most likely been caught between the forward-thinking president and the ultra-conservative Ayatollah. There is an incredibly important distinction between “now the country seems to be arresting local tech bloggers” and, say, “bloggers caught in ideological crossfire between the political leader and the spiritual leader in Iran” – the difference: the first example seems like its random, the second seems like its pretty specific about what the issue is.

With what’s going on in the Iraq and Syria, and the involvement of Iran and the US, its incredibly important to report on incidents in a responsible manner. You can’t report on something that is a month old as if it happened yesterday, and you can’t be random in your word chooses. You just can’t.

Here’s the Article in Question:
Iran throws tech bloggers in prison for working with ‘enemy media’

Most countries with internet access see the web as a tool for communication. But in Iran? It’s a threat. The country has made a habit of censoring social platforms like Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram — lifting its ban only for odd “technical failures.” Now the country seems to be arresting local tech bloggers. The state is accusing eight bloggers from the Iranian site Narenji (now offline) of having ties to “enemy media” and plotting a “‘soft overthrow’ of the Iranian regime.” Specifically, the group is accused of receiving funding from British intelligence and conducting espionage for BBC Persian. According to Mashable, the team is facing sentences between 18 months and 11 years in prison, or 36 years between them all.

Previous post:

Next post: