Keeping Iranian News Under Wraps

Did you know there are 117 registered foreign correspondents in Iran? I didn't, but there could be 1000 and I still wouldn't be surprised by a media blackout of any and all democratic protests in the Islamic state.

Amir Taheri in the New York Post offers this little nugget:

In Tehran, hundreds gathered near the home of Mansour Osanloo, the imprisoned leader of the capital's transit workers, with a simple message: We are not afraid! The authorities had organized a military operation to cordon off the streets leading to the house - but couldn't prevent union members from assembling. The day ended with the arrest of at least 15 workers' leaders.

Meanwhile, in factories and workshops in and around the capital, workers organized peaceful hour-long "solidarity pauses," defying a ban imposed by the authorities. Several other major cities saw similar demonstrations, including Ahvaz, Arak, Sanandaj, Shiraz and Tabriz.

Everywhere, the protesters took care to keep their actions within the law. Yet the authorities kept any mention of Thursday's events out of the official media.

Wait for it...

Osanloo's lawyers phoned the offices of more than a dozen Western news agencies and radio and TV networks in Tehran in the hope of persuading them to cover the events - with no results.

Inside Iran, some see global conspiracy to keep international opinion in the dark about what is really happening in the Islamic Republic. They ask: Why is it that world media representatives in Iran never interview any of the thousands of trade unionists, teachers' leaders, journalists, student activists, women's-lib militants and dissident intellectuals? Why is the brutal repression in several provinces, which has already claimed scores of lives, never covered on the spot?

Now I'm not saying that being a foreign correspondent in a tyrannical country is a walk in the park. You're under constant surveillance and pressure from the regime and could be banned at a moments notice, but you're there to cover the news, to cover the stories that matter. You've already taken a risk just by being there, what's the point if you're just going to be a Western mouth-piece for tyrants?

Remember Eason Jordan? Remember how he kept the crimes of Saddam Hussein out of the spotlight so CNN could have a Baghdad Bureau. He claimed it was to protect his journalists and not the existence of the bureau itself, but if you can't report the news, why be there? International prestige is the answer to that question. Truth? Eh! Better the Europeans love you.
But despite the problems for reporters on the ground working for MSM outlets, there is this:

The good news, however, is that, thanks to the Internet and other means of communication, information almost always ends up getting out.