Listening Post - Iran vs UK: history of a media war
The Listening Post

Iran vs UK: History of a media war

A look at the media crossfire between London and Tehran; plus, some fake twitter accounts have caused a stir.

Over the past couple of months, Iran has been in the news, and the news has not been good. There was the alleged Iranian plot to assassinate a Saudi diplomat. Then came the International Atomic Agency’s latest report on the country’s nuclear programme. And in November, hundreds of Iranians stormed the British embassy in Tehran. Behind the headlines however, there has been another story – Iran’s media conflict with the West, especially the UK.

Within Iran, BBC‘s Persian service is on the authorities’ blacklist and the channel’s signal into the country is regularly jammed. Journalists can be arrested on mere suspicion of working for the BBC. On the flip side, Iran claims that Britain inflicts unfair fines and regulations on its state-funded international news channel Press TV. The war between the countries and the broadcasters has a long history and is getting progressively more heated. In Our News Divide this week, we take a closer look at the media crossfire between London and Tehran.
In this week’s Newsbytes: A Syrian cyber-activist is arrested and concerns for her safety grow; a prominent Egyptian blogger is refused release to attend the birth of his son; India threatens to clamp down on online content that may offend religious groups; and an undercover investigation catches out a global PR firm.

Fake twitter accounts

In the five years since its creation, the micro-blogging website twitter has gone from being branded a flash in the pan-social media website to an indispensible tool in the news game. But within this rapidly expanding medium there is a growing trend: fake twitter accounts – fraudsters impersonating real celebrities, politicians and in some cases corporations.

The practise violates twitter’s terms and conditions but it is not entirely clear what the site can do about it. And until it does find a way to stop the trend, we get to sit back and enjoy the fake tweets that seem to say more about the people and institutions they represent than the real tweets do. The Listening Post’s Nick Muirhead looks at some of the fake twitter accounts that have caused a stir.

Ever since the Arab uprisings there has been a surge in political satire in the region. We have seen graffiti plastered on the walls of Tripoli, revolutionary songs posted from Tahrir Square and good old fashioned puppet shows, aimed at Damascus – but we not entirely sure where they are coming from. That is because the creators have chosed to remain anonymous which may have something to do with the fact that Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president, is still in power. They said this puppet show is a comment on Syrian media and politics, so we made it our Web Video of the Week. We hope you enjoy the show. 


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