Iran revokes New York Times correspondent’s accreditation

Abbas Mousavi, spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry, gives a press conference in Tehran on May 28, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 11 June 2019
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Iran revokes New York Times correspondent’s accreditation

  • Journalists in Iran face harassment from security services, while others have been imprisoned for their work

DUBAI: Iran has revoked the press accreditation for The New York Times’ correspondent based in Tehran without explanation, the newspaper reported Tuesday.
While the newspaper said it remained hopeful Thomas Erdbrink soon would be allowed to work again, the revocation comes amid heightened tensions between the US and Iran stemming from President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers a year ago.
Iran pulled Erdbrink’s government-required authorization to work as a journalist four months ago, the Times said. He’s been unable to work since February and the Times said it decided to go public with his situation “after recent speculation and comments on social media.”
“Officials of Iran’s Foreign Ministry have repeatedly assured The Times that Mr. Erdbrink’s credential would soon be restored but have offered no explanation for the delays or for why it was revoked,” the Times reported, quoting international editor Michael Slackman. “He added that there are some indications this will be resolved soon.”
Iran’s mission to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment. There was no immediate response in Iranian state-run media.
Erdbrink, a Dutch national, previously worked as a correspondent for The Washington Post as well. He’s married to Iranian photographer Newsha Tavakolian, who is represented by the Magnum photo agency.
Both he and Tavakolian were the focus of “Our Man in Tehran,” a 2018 documentary about his work and life as a Western journalist in Iran.
Journalists in Iran face harassment from security services, while others have been imprisoned for their work. While local journalists face the brunt of that, foreign journalists in Tehran, especially those with Western ties, have been imprisoned as well.
The last major case involved Iranian-American reporter Jason Rezaian of the Washington Post, who was convicted in an internationally criticized, closed-door espionage trial in 2015. A 2016 prisoner swap negotiated between Iran and the US amid the start of the nuclear deal freed Rezaian and three other Iranian-Americans in exchange for pardons or charges being dropped against seven Iranians. That deal also saw the US make a $400 million cash delivery to Iran.


Egypt reported to have 4-6m fake news pages

An Egyptian carries a load of newspapers in Cairo, Egypt, in this file photo taken on Dec. 1, 2014. (AP)
Updated 16 June 2019
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Egypt reported to have 4-6m fake news pages

  • ‘The fake accounts ... are usually not owned by Egyptians, but by foreigners’

CAIRO: Egypt is reported to have 4 to 6 million fake news pages on social media accounts, according to Ali Hosni, undersecretary at of the General Directorate of Information and Relations at the Egyptian Interior Ministry.
The fake accounts, made to spread false information, are usually not owned by Egyptians, but by foreigners, he added.
Egypt has faced a flood of false rumors on an almost weekly basis, with claims such as that a newly appointed minister was in fact dead, or that of a girl kidnapped in the Beheira, who turned out to have runaway to avoid taking her exams.
According to a recent global survey, 86 percent of internet users have admitted that they have fallen for fake news online. The survey also showed that Egyptians were the most gullible in terms of fake news.

Prohibitory step
The government passed a law prohibiting fake news in an attempt to control the problem. The law, passed in July 2018, states that social media accounts with over 5,000 followers will be treated as media outlets, and their owners could be subjected to fines or prison for spreading fake news.
Responses to the law were skeptical, as people wondered what defined fake news, while others found the law to be vague. With the global survey’s results, it can be presumed that the 2018 fake news law did not have too much of an impact.
There have been multiple reports of social media accounts masquerading as officials and in Egypt turning out to be fake. One, the page for Education Minister Mahmoud Abo Nasr, had 80,000 Facebook followers on it — his genuine official page had only 55,000 followers.