IRAN WATCH CANADA

Friday, October 01, 2010

More on Hossain Derakhshan..(3). This is an article written by Hossain Derakhshan in Guardian on May 7,2007!?

IRAN WATCH CANADA calls for human rights of all Iranian and non Iranian citizens and Justice for all without bias.

Here is Mr. derakhshn's article:

Cut the bias
Iran doesn't have a policy of imprisoning people for the content of their blogs, as some human rights campaigners would have us believe.

Hossein Derakhshan
guardian.co.uk, Monday 7 May 2007 10.00 BST
Article history

Someone should remind the Reporters Without Borders to remove Arash Sigarchi's name from the list of Iranian cyberdissidents in jail. (Cached version of the same page.)
It's been over three months since he was cleared from widely publicised charges that initially brought him 14 years of jail and after an appeal was reduced to three years, all by a small court in a distant city from Tehran.
His main charge was working with the American government-funded Radio Farda (The Persian service for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty) among other minor charges of encouraging street protests and insulting top Iranian officials in his reports for Radio Farda (with a pseudonym) and his writings, mainly in a small, local publication in the city of Rasht. (Radio Farda was outlawed in Iran by the national security council when it started in late 90s.)
But since he also had a blog with less than a few dozen page views per day prior to his arrest, the entire human rights machine (western media, watchdogs, and NGOs) started to spread numerous reports, showcasing him as the champion as an innocent victim of a brutal regime with a formulated policy for imprisoning bloggers who dare to write a word of criticism against the government.
His case has reached such symbolic significance that it is always mentioned by the American warmongers, such as the American Enterprise Institute, when they try to make their long-dreamed-of case for the necessity of regime change in Iran.
As a matter of fact, Iranian government has not had any such policy toward bloggers and the mere fact that blogging has become so mainstream in Iran (with over 700,000 blogs in the Persian language) and the existence of numerous blogging service companies that legally and publicly operate inside Iran, is evidence of this.
Yes, the government has indeed filtered a lot of political websites, but so has UAE, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Pakistan, Egypt and many other US allies. But Iran doesn't have a policy of imprisoning young men and women for a few words in their small blogs, as the western media would have us believe.
Obviously the Islamic Republic cannot be as tolerant against criticism as, say, Norway. After all, I myself have experienced the intolerant government - all websites I run, including my blogs, are filtered and I was also detained and forced to sign an apology over my blog posts before I was allowed to leave Iran in June 2005.
But unfortunately states become very intolerant when their existence is threatened (or when they think it is). And if the US and the UK, with their claims to defend basic human rights, keep thousands of suspected partners of their enemies without charge or legal rights for months and even years, creating special prisons such as Guantánamo Bay in which to hold them, what can you expect from a government like the Islamic Republic, whose very existence is continuously being threatened by big powers from day one of its revolution?
A new strategy seems to be that many of these human rights watchdogs, despite their integrity and genuine intentions, are depending heavily on one or two Iranian researchers who are usually among the victims of the very violations they are supposed to watch without any bias.
The RWB case is especially interesting in this regard as an organisation in which only one person can read the Persian language and he has had his job for probably more than 10 years, now. He has fled Iran about 20 years ago after months or years of excessive hardships and pressure over his activities as a member of some outlawed radical leftist group.
How can an important organisation depend on the judgments of only one individual with such a conflict of personal and professional interest? How can a person possibly be unbiased toward a government he or she hates?
Perhaps that is why such organisations rush into demonising a government that they are already against and don't care much to cover the further developments, especially if they are positive.
Link to this article:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2007/may/07/cutthebias

Here are some comments Guardian readers wrote on this article:

1-GrandOldMan
7 May 2007 10:32AM

A disgraceful article
1) You say the "Western media" have accused Iran of imprisooning people simply for writing blogs critical of the government- but you are only able to quote a single very biased website as evidence. So you tar the whole Western media for the actions of one website 2) If his initial 14 year sentence included a conviction for writing anti-government pieces on a blog, then the West would be perfectly justified in making a fuss about such censorship 3) I am not interested if he was sentenced "in a small town"; he was sentenced by an Iranian court. If someone was sentenced to 14 years for something he wrote critical of the government in Winchester Crown Court, rather than the Old bailey, would that make the unfairness any less? 4) His main opffence seems to have been working for a radio station banned by the Iranian government...er...I think that counts as censorship. 5) The fact that hardly anyone read his blog is supposed to be relevant? Like it's OK to imprison people who hardly anyone reads, but not those with a lot of readers? 6) The author concedes that the government "filters" (I think he means censors, but is to shy to use the C word) blogs, but says that's all right because other countries do it as well. Er...surely then all governbments should stop censoring blogs. 2 wrongs dont make a right 7) #Obviously the Islamic Republic cannot be as tolerant against criticism as, say, Norway# Er...why not? Again you seem to be operating double standards here. Perhaps you could explain your reasons why Iran must censor blogs 8) The "threats" to Iran's existence would quickly go away if they stopped helping insurgents in Iraq, developing nuclear weapons and if their President stopped making offensive speeches and actions against Israel. 9) Again the double standards are evident when saying that because the USA imprisons people without trial at Guantamano, that somehow makes censorship in Iran OK. OK, we can play that game, but let's see if you would agree with the contrary statement- which you have to given your logic. "The policy of imprisoning people without trial at Guantanamo bay is perfectly justified; after all Iran imprisons bloggers who criticise their government, so why should the USA operate higher standards?" Once again, 2 wrongs dont make a right
But it is your conclusion that is the most laughable. You claim that this incident might be used as justification for the USA to attack Iran.
Sir, if the USA really did want to invade Iraq, they wouldnt need the case of one blogger to justify their actions.
A disgraceful attempt to (1) Justify Iranian censorship and harsh prison sentences (2) to smear the whole western media because of the not unjustified interest in a 14 year sentence on someone for criticising the government (3) pretend that the USA is looking to use this incident as a pretext for invading Iran.

2-
PeterGold
7 May 2007 11:48AM
Hossein Derakhshan should be ashamed of himself. Anyone who writes "Obviously the Islamic Republic cannot be as tolerant against criticism as, say, Norway." has no idea of what freedom of expression means. This is, I gather, the same Hossein Derakhshan who flits from one Western city to the next lecturing us on "freedom of speech". Oh, this just in:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/6631715.stm "A second editor of a student publication in Iran has been detained following days of unrest in one of Tehran's most prestigious universities."
No need for Hossein Derakhshan to fear such a fate, though. He knows where his freedom is guaranteed. What a sham. What a shame he finds platforms for his double standards.

3-
GrandOldMan
7 May 2007 2:53PM
NotNew
#The laws within Iran are a matter for Iran.#
Yep, you are confirming what you said earlier, and I am cool with that- so long as you also agree that the laws Israel passes are similarly only a matter for israel, and you are obviously saying that the laws the Nazis passed- eg the Nuremburg laws- were also entirely their own business and that others were obviously quite wrong to crticise them.
OK, i think we are clear on where you stand on that; you do not care if Iranian bloggers and journalists are arrested and harrassed for criticising their government. That's a purely internal matter and nobody else's business.
Curious, not even the author of the original piece was going that far, but never mind.
Every dictator in History will applaud your principled stand. The Nazis, the Soviets, General Pinochet,the Apartheid regime in South africa would all hail your principled stand- you can never ever criticise the laws a country passes ).
Er...I think you might like to check with your comrades that this is actually the party line.
LOL

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