« | »

China, Cuba Censor The News From Iran

From an irony-proofed Washington Post:

Authoritarian Regimes Censor News From Iran

By Ariana Eunjung Cha
Saturday, June 27, 2009

BEIJING — Out of fear that history might repeat itself, the authoritarian governments of China, Cuba and Burma have been selectively censoring the news this month of Iranian crowds braving government militias on the streets of Tehran to demand democratic reforms…

In China, political commentators tinted their blogs and Twitters green to show their support for Iranians disputing President Ahmoud Ahmadinejad’s reelection. The deaths of at least 20 people in violent clashes in Tehran have drawn comparisons online to "June 4," the date of the Tiananmen Square crackdown in Beijing in 1989. And a pointed joke about how Iranians are luckier than Chinese because sham elections are better than no elections made the rounds on the country’s vast network of Internet bulletin boards…

In Cuba, President Raúl Castro’s government has imposed a complete blackout of news surrounding the Iranian elections. But word of developments is trickling through, anyway.

Havana-based blogger Yoani Sánchez, 33, who e-mails friends outside Cuba to get her entries posted online, said the Iranian protests — in particular, the reportedly widespread use of Twitter, Facebook and cellphones — have served as "a lesson for Cuban bloggers." …

"Today it’s you," she told the Iranian protesters in one posting. "Tomorrow it could well be us."

In Burma, the junta’s mouthpiece, the New Light of Myanmar, has drowned out news from Tehran with articles on bombings in Iraq and Afghanistan. But some of the nearly 200 journals published privately in Rangoon and Mandalay have seized on the topic as a way to pass subversive messages to readers…

In Venezuela, a South American country that is increasingly polarized, protests against President Hugo Chávez’s administration are common. Juan Mejía, 22, said he found the protests in Iran stirring, partly because he felt that opponents of the government in Tehran want the same thing as protesters in Caracas.

"The fact that people have gone out onto the street, that they demand their rights be respected, means to us that they felt there was no liberty and that they want a different country," said Mejía, a student leader who opposes Chávez. "We believe that if the people of the world raise their voices loudly enough — in Iran, as we do it here in Venezuela, and hopefully one day in Cuba — then surely we will have a better world."

Venezuela, as opposed to countries such as Cuba and China, holds frequent elections, and dissent remains a part of the political discourse. But in a decade in power, Chávez has taken control of the Congress, the courts and the state oil company, and his opponents charge that he is a dictator in the making.

In China, the Communist Party’s propaganda machine has worked furiously to portray the protests in Iran — already being dubbed the Green Revolution, after the Rose and Orange revolutions earlier this decade in Georgia and Ukraine — as orchestrated by the United States and other Western powers, not a grass-roots movement. Unlike Western leaders, who have avoided acknowledging Ahmadinejad’s claims of victory, President Hu Jintao joined Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev in meeting with and congratulating the Iranian president.

On online discussion boards this week, tens of thousands of comments about Iran were shown as deleted; most of those allowed to remain took the official party line on the elections.

China’s main message has been that this vulnerable period, with the world hit by the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, is no time for a "color revolution."

"Attempts to push the so-called color revolution toward chaos will prove very dangerous," the state-run China Daily said in a recent editorial.

The Chinese government has been especially aggressive this year in cracking down on talk of democracy because 2009 is full of politically sensitive anniversaries. In the most recent move, officials announced Tuesday the formal arrest of Liu Xiaobo, an influential dissident who had helped draft and sign a pro-democracy petition known as Charter 08…

Some democracy advocates in China said that even if the Iranian protesters fail in their calls for legitimate elections this time, their fight will inspire others, as similar uprisings — in Burma in 1988 and at Tiananmen Square the next year, for example — have done in the past

The Iranians won’t be inspiring anyone if they don’t hear about it.

Of course, this could never happen here.

In Burma, the junta’s mouthpiece, the New Light of Myanmar, has drowned out news from Tehran with articles on bombings in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In our country they do this with stories of wayward governors and dead celebrities.

Venezuela, as opposed to countries such as Cuba and China, holds frequent elections, and dissent remains a part of the political discourse.

Pull the other one.

This article was posted by Steve on Saturday, June 27th, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

2 Responses to “China, Cuba Censor The News From Iran”

  1. jobeth says:

    I’m at a total loss as to why these two freedom loving, fair minded countries would censor the news of what is going on in Iran. Ummm, no clue what so ever…(sarc)

    “In our country they do this with stories of wayward governors and dead celebrities.”

    Speaking of this…I am just about up to here (motioning 2 ft above my head)
    with Michael Jackson…the drug taking, wasted, weird, very likely pervert.

    I even heard someone say today on FOX, on one of the finacial shows, that we can learn from Michael on how to handle money?????????? Yeah…stop spending more than you have dumbo!

    Ok, ok…I get it that he was a talent. I get it that many are going to miss him.
    But 2 solid days of minute by minute coverage? How many ways can you say he’s dead..or the autopsy is not complete?

    This country is falling apart around us and its silence from the mind numbed masses. A celeb dies and it’s non stop for days!

    The fiddlin’ continues as Rome burns my friends. Have fun.

  2. jrmcdonald says:

    I’m glad that Google is working hard to protect the people from these lies about a revolution in Iran…


« Front Page | To Top
« | »