Iran, western media & selective reporting

A number of weeks have passed since the election in Iran, and it appears much of the public comments have faded from view. As many people will be aware, there were a lot of online campaigns seeking to raise awareness of concerns with the election result and the crackdown in dissidents/those protesting the re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as President. Perhaps the largest was the HelpIranElection.com campaign:

Show support for the people who fight for democracy at Iran, and change your Twitter avatar to have green overlay or green ribbon (green is the official color of the movement).

I was reluctant, despite mounting ‘pressure’, to add the requisite overlay/ribbon to my avatars, though eventually succumbed. My reluctance was based on my concern with the western media coverage and my lack of knowledge of the what was/had actually transpired. It seems that many were caught up in the moment and others, like myself to some extent, accepted the apparent overwhelming (western) criticism of what happened as evidence of fraud in itself.

John Pilger has provided a good critique of the (simplistic, reductionist, and manipulated) western media coverage of the Iranian election during a recent interview on Democracy Now, contrasting this with different approach to coverage of the coup in Honduras. I do think that many of the reactions to the Iranian election are borne out of exposure to years of western demonising of Iran in significant part based on Iran not towing a line the US would like (it is much more complex than this simple statement) — how many times does something need to be repeated before it seems like the truth.

The crux of Pilger’s comments, which ranged far wider than western media (and political) coverage of the Iranian election protests, provide a good grounding for any of the newly aware people caught up in the green wave of awareness to understand the nuances and manipulations that are going on. For myself, I guess it is a reminder that I should remain critical even when significant numbers of people (even friends or those whose opinions I value) voice a similar perspective or opinion…

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