Iran cleric blames social media for anti-regime protests

A hard-line Iranian cleric has called on Iran to create its own indigenous social media apps. (AFP)
Updated 05 January 2018

Iran cleric blames social media for anti-regime protests

DUBAI: A hard-line Iranian cleric has called on Iran to create its own indigenous social media apps, blaming them for the unrest that followed days of protest in the Islamic Republic over its economy.
Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami made the comments while leading Friday prayers in Tehran. He said that when the country blocked social media “the riots stopped.”
Khatami says that “the nation does not support a social network that its key is in the hand of the United States.” He also said he believed anyone who burned Iran’s flag should be sentenced to death.
Meanwhile, activists have posted new videos purporting to show protests challenging the Islamic Republic’s government.
Activists describe the protest videos, obtained by The Associated Press outside of Iran, as showing demonstrations in Tehran on Thursday night, including chants against Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
In Tehran on Friday morning, streets appeared calm ahead of noon prayers.
An emergency meeting of the UN Security Council, called for by the United States, is to discuss the ongoing unrest later Friday.
At least 21 people have been killed in the unrest surrounding the protests, which began last week over rising food prices and Iran’s flagging economy before spreading to cities across nearly all of Iran’s provinces. Authorities have said the protests are waning.


Missing Pakistani TV reporter is found after 72 hours

Updated 24 October 2020

Missing Pakistani TV reporter is found after 72 hours

  • Geo's bureau chief in Karachi said Ali Imran Syed had contacted his wife to say that he had reached his mother’s home
  • Earlier police registered the journalist’s disappearance as an “abduction” case without naming suspects

ISLAMABAD: A reporter working for Pakistan’s leading Geo News television who had gone missing in the southern port city of Karachi has been found, family and colleague said Saturday.
Geo bureau chief in Karachi, Fahim Siddiqi, said Ali Imran Syed had contacted his wife by phone to say that he had reached his mother’s home.
Earlier police registered the journalist’s disappearance as an “abduction” case without naming suspects.
The reporter left home late Friday evening telling his wife that he would be back in half an hour before disappearing for 72 hours.
Recently there have been several cases of Pakistani journalists being detained or abducted for several hours, before being released.
Azhar Abbas, head of the Geo TV, earlier said he has contacted provincial and federal authorities “to help trace the missing reporter” and “ensure his safety.”
Siddiqi said the reporter’s abduction may have been related to his work on recent political events, including the arrest of an opposition leader who is the son-in-law of former premier Nawaz Sharif.
Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari said in a tweet no one should “disappear in a democracy”.
Pakistani media has been facing renewed pressure from state agencies that have sought to control the topics covered by the media and even restrict the selection of guests for TV talk shows.
Journalists and press freedom advocates often accuse the Pakistani military and security agencies of pressuring media outlets to prevent critical coverage.
In December last year, a Karachi based reporter with the Express Tribune newspaper, Bilal Farooqi, was arrested on charges of spreading hateful content against the country’s military on social media.
In July, Matiullah Jan was briefly detained. Jan is known for criticism of Pakistan’s military and security agencies.

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