The Curse of a Semi-Free Press

Scanning through a scandinavian newspaper I saw a story about an Iranian acctress called Zahra Amir Ebrahimi who risks multiple years in prison and getting publically whipped after an old camcorder recording of her and a former boyfriend appeared on the internet. Her former boyfriend had according to the article managed to flee to the emirates.

Stories from Iran about young girls, often minors, getting jailed, hanged or physically maimed by the Iranian court system due to both voluntary and forced sexual acts are not a rare occurence in scandinavian media.

What struck me this time though is the fact that all these reports come from Iran, and only Iran. While it could mean that these kind of acts by the government only happens in Iran I do find it a bit unplausible. For instance I would be very suprised if wahabist Saudi Arabia doesn’t have as harsh rules against ‘immorality’ for example.

So I started wondering if the reason why these things do get reported out of Iran is because compared to for instance Saudi Arabia, Iran might actually have freer press and political opposition?

One trait of modern democracy is that the public focus tend to be led by current news stories. News stories are being done as a combination of what is available and what the readers are interested in. So in one sense the countries getting the harshest treatment in international media is the ones who are not totalitarian enough to have destroyed all internal opposition as opposed to those who successfully silences all independent reporting and internal criticism.

So while I in no way defend the acts of the Iranian regime on these issues, it do strike me that maybe they get painted as the worst offender in the region not because they are the worst, but because they actually are the best, in the sense that they at least allow some political discourse and reporting on the subjects. Of course being ‘the best’ in this case is still not very good, but it do put the ‘axis of evil’ in a funny light.

5 thoughts on “The Curse of a Semi-Free Press

  1. Maybe that’s not “more free” Iranian press. Maybe that just scandinavian press reporting on bad incidents from Iran, but keeping quiet on bad incidents from other countries, in order to build very negative public image of Iran. Because, you know, Iran is new Iraq. Attacking bad country is good.

  2. zdzichu: My immediate thought too, but what does the press get out of it? I live in Denmark, and I really don’t think a conspiracy is likely. You don’t know how it’s like here if you believe that.

    Another explanation might be that all news from Iran is good news because people are interested in news from Iran due to the fight over the nuclear programme.

  3. That comment was meant to be little ,,tongue in check”, but blog ate pseudo-tags like (/conspiracy theory).
    I don’t want to offend anyone.

  4. Iran do communicate with the external world. They take part in international politics. Saudi Arabia keeps quit and let their partners in crime do the talking. USA and other speaks for them.

    It might be just as good anyway. Might be that the situation in the midle-east would get worse if more of the countries had Iraq like situation at the same time.

    The Norwegian people are relatively simple. We just don’t like bullshit and we easily just say so.

    We are commenly equaly hated and loved by both parties in a conflict. This is partly because of this openness. Many people inside and outside is often angry at the scandinavian fairness or rudness as other might see it.

    Denmark? I realy do not know what they are doing this days. It looks like they are drifting away from the more traditional Scandinavia thinking.

    But is not a secret that conservative muslims is a hughe threat against Norway and the world in genereal. But so is American right wing conservative christians.

    The shitlist right now might be something like Iran, USA, Israel, Russia, China. All countries that easily supports war, terror and other threats.

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