Saturday, July 18, 2009

Gnat

"The American attention span for foreign crises is notoriously short. In the two weeks since Iran’s disputed election and the ensuing protests and violence, Michael Jackson died, Sarah Palin resigned, and news from Iran slipped below the fold and into the inside pages of most daily newspapers.

In this case, however, American editors and readers are not solely to blame. The Iranian authorities had an interest in making this story disappear, and they have done a very effective job. They expelled all foreign reporters, imprisoned most active local ones (according to Reporters Without Borders, forty-one Iranian journalists have been imprisoned since June 12th), and let local stringers for foreign media organizations know that their options included prison, silence, and exile. The inner circles of the opposition candidates, and the independent analysts and civil-society leaders who aggregate and interpret information for the press, are also in prison, or, at the very least, unable to communicate freely by e-mail or phone. Very few unofficial sources of information remain accessible—mainly anonymous, frightened informants on the ground."
(New Yorker)

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