Thursday, October 19, 2006

disappearing shoulders • media coverage in Iran

click pics for high rez

While many western readers will be quiete sure that the media in Iran is heavily censored there is doubt that many have actual an idea how this censorship appears. Jonathan Lundqvist of j|turn had been in Iran and took the chance to take a closer look at some western magazines avaiable in Teheran. The mags he bought, many more are avaiable, are Economist, National Geographic and Wallpaper.
Especially the specific issue of the Economist is of interest as it´s cover story is about Iran´s nuclear ambitions. The entire magazine is full of articles that are extremely critical to the regime. Leaders and op-ed’s that say that the Iranian regime is outright dangerous. Yet, that is not censored. Not one world of it. It’s all there.
One of the more interesting things with all this, as Jomnathan points out, is how words are left uncensored, but images are not. The only word that was explicitly censored was “Playboy”, in spite of the articles being full of things that must be considered western propaganda.

From a westerner’s point-of-view, the censorship can be described in terms of political and/or sexual. The political censorship is the cartoons of the religious and worldly leaders, and the sexual being primarily the female body and some of its attributes. It’s important, however, to remember that women are not censored to the standard that is expected in the real world: in the Iranian society the hair is supposed to be veiled from a strangers gaze – in these images its left untouched and visible. Thus, it can be argued that there is a degree of tolerance that goes beyond what is normally considered acceptable and that censors target the Iranian equivalent of hard-core pornography.

Jonathan concludes that the Iranian censorship is better than other forms of censorship, in that it’s done in the open. The black ink is there for all to see. No pages that “disappeared”, but the evidence of interference is there. That way, Iranians at least know that they’re missing out and can act accordingly.
I am not sure if I agree with the latter, as I feel uncomfortable with describing one censorship better than the other but his extensive collection of scanned magazines gives a first hand impression of the media in Iran that may adjust some pictures in mind.

full post here: More pictures of Iranian Censorship


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