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Freedom of Expression Launched by Reporters Without Borders (RSF)

Launched by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), “Tracker 19” is a tool made for an unprecedented global crisis. So named in reference not only to Covid-19 but also article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, this project aims to evaluate the pandemic’s impacts on journalism. It will document state censorship and deliberate disinformation, and their impact on the right to reliable news and information. It will also make recommendations on how to defend journalism.

 

IRAN (down three at 173rd)

 

https://rsf.org/en/countries 

 

The health crisis has intensified the disinformation excesses of the Iranian government

 

The suppression of information, disinformation, official lies - methods used regularly by the Islamic Republic during times of crisis and disaster - have again been deployed since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

 

In February, the authorities began by denying how far the virus had spread after pro-government media organizations reported two deaths linked to Covid-19 in Qom. Two months later, it was acknowledged that the source of the infection was a seminary in the city which takes religious students from China. Once the truth was out, the government did everything it could to restrict the flow of information about the crisis. Several journalists who published unofficial details about the crisis were summoned, questioned, and accused of “spreading rumours”. One who tweeted about the health conditions in prisons was arrested.

 

Instead of informing the public about the reality of the pandemic, the Iranian government cultivates a lack of transparency and uses the health crisis to sustain its anti-American propaganda and to attack the sanctions imposed by the United States. The desire to show the world that Iran is managing the crisis better than the West, coupled with government disinformation (according to official figures, the country has had 70,000 cases and 4,500 deaths caused by the virus) could put the lives of millions of Iranians at risk.