How independent are the Iranian media

Iran's media almost only "mouthpieces"

"The vast majority of our media either belong to the state or is state-funded," said the head of the media research department in the Iranian Ministry of Culture, Hamid-Resa Siaeiparwar, according to the Isna news agency. These media acted more as mouthpieces for the political parties and - because of their ideological dependence - could not do investigative journalism, he added.

In his opinion, this is the reason why many Iranians specifically use foreign media or social networks as news sources. The ban on some social networks has not changed that. According to Siaeiparwar, 40 to 45 million Iranians alone use the Telegram chat service, which is actually banned in Iran. "The time to ban or ignore social media is definitely over."

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Telegram and other social networks like Instagram, Twitter and Facebook have been causing headaches to the Islamic establishment for years. The Internet was and is used as the most important means of communication for demonstrators during riots critical of the regime. Information, videos and images of the protests are distributed via these services at home and abroad and used by the media around the world.

Iranian hardliners are calling for access to all social networks in the country to be blocked. However, even such measures have so far been of little use, as many Iranians can hide the IP addresses of their Internet connections with certain programs and apps. This gives them access to pages that are actually forbidden.

wa / pgr (dpa, isna)