Dictatorship 101: Control all means of communication

After getting burned by all those Tweets following the national elections last summer, the Iranian government is taking steps to see that they don’t lose control again.

Iran Expanding Effort to Stifle the Opposition

The government uses the usual gun-thug technique to crack the heads of the opposition. It is also setting up 6,000 military centers in elementary schools to “promote the ideals of the Islamic revolution.” And it has turned over control of land line phone systems, the Internet and mobile phone companies.

A company affiliated with the Revolutionary Guards acquired a majority share in the nation’s telecommunications monopoly this year, giving the Guards de facto control of Iran’s land lines, Internet providers and two cellphone companies. And in the spring, the Revolutionary Guards plan to open a news agency with print, photo and television elements.

The power-hungry leaders complain that the root of the country’s domestic ills are because of Western subversion, especially in the form of cultural subversion. (Damn, those Barbie dolls.)

The arguments are the same with any dictator. In China the government wants to control the message and messenger to protect social stability and fight spiritual pollution. In Venezuela, Hugo Chavez wants to control the media to make sure the people are not influenced by Yankee imperialist thought and are properly schooled in Bolivarian revolutionary thought.

It really doesn’t matter what the background ideology is, the bottom line is that dictators of all stripes don’t like a free press. After all, once people start getting more than one side of a story, they might actually start thinking about changing leaders.

Maybe the Iranians will learn what the Chinese and Venezuelans are already experiencing. The harder they try to control the lines of communication, the more ridiculous they look to the world and their own people. The truth always leaks out. And in.

First published in Journalism, Journalists and the World.

Email this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on FacebookShare on TumblrShare on RedditPin on Pinterest

Tags: , , ,

Defending the First Amendment and promoting open government are more crucial now than ever. Join SPJ's fight for the public’s right to know — either as an SPJ Supporter or a professional, student or retired journalist.

  • Sulla Felix

    Keep doing good work to highlight quality writing. That is what every reader deserves.

  • chizwoz

    You have a right to fart in crowded lifts. Just don’t do it if you want to keep the rest of the world happy.

  • If I wanted to make everyone happy, I’d have chosen a different field. Maybe doughnut chef.

  • chizwoz

    Well I meant games journalists. Given that their salary comes from keeping their audience happy, it’s generally not a good idea to conspire behind closed doors, whilst presenting the illusion of competing companies to the public.

  • Kajisan

    Same thoughts. To be honest: Nobody really gave a bloody ink about the development time of Final Fantasy 15. It’s done when its done. It’s not like Star Citizen is some sort of Duke Nukem Forever or Daikatana. At the current state – its a game, deep in development and from first screenshots to current quality of game assets, they’re in quite a good shape. Nobody ever quoted Chris back in 2012 telling that the road map is supposed to run till 2020 and beyond. Expected 100 million and more? Probably calculated. The term “development” should already imply that some game features/modes may change during the production.

    In the end, nobody outside the industry really knows that higher quality “movie like” 3D assets take up more time to be build than regular game assets. Watching a five minute long 3d artist credit list at the end of Avengers or The Force Awakens probably gives a wink how much effort it takes to create a few shots in a two hour movie..and upcoming games.

    The article was internet trolling at it’s best, like pornographic looking thumbnails on Youtube to get a million clicks a day. Not even starting with the Derek Smart drama around the same time, with Escapist jumping on top of it like Spotlight hunting catholic priests. As if the world is not bad enough. No, we need even more drama.

  • Kajisan

    Little addendum: Yes, internal problems may happen. Every game or movie or automobile company has to deal with it every day. Making these problems public, writing an article about – not sure if this is worth getting an award, especially since the Jury doesn’t have any background to judge over this article or the things that lead to it. It makes no sense, not for me.

  • Be sure to pass this critical information on to the judges, along with a color coded graph with lines running to everyone I’ve ever retweeted, and everyone THEY’VE ever retweeted. You can’t be too careful, or too obsessive.

  • Calem

    No need. You aren’t important enough for that.

  • Vetarnias

    “blacklist journalists that committed wrong-think”

    Because that’s not what GG’s own DeepFreeze is about, of course.

    Also, you really don’t get it. “The consumer” isn’t some kind of almighty God you can invoke to justify getting rid of voices you don’t like, whether it’s in video games journalism, academe, or in games production. It’s not even whether the journalists in question are “corrupt” (according to any credible meaning of the word, like payola, or giving high scores just to keep your job) — you don’t like the message, so you want it gone. Recently, you’ve even turned against Jeff Gerstmann, formerly your idea of Mr. Ethics (as a result of that 2007 affair at GameSpot), because he was now “anti-consumer” — just because he told you that if you complained that much about localized editions of Japanese games, maybe you should consider learning Japanese.

    From what I’ve seen of Gaters, you think a reviewer is “corrupt” because he gave the lowest score to a game, and that you justify this by saying (1) this low score is “objectively” proven to be wrong if it deviates from the rest of the 9.0 consensus; and (2) the reviewer is lying and he’s just being contrarian for clicks.

    And naturally, if it has all that Social-Justice-Warriory Cultural-Marxist propaganda in it, then the sooner it’s gone, the better to you. As if “SJWs” didn’t count as “consumers”. As if The Consumer could only be a white middle-class guy with an extended adolescence whose self-esteem is so fragile that his tastes must be validated at every time of his existence — oh wait, don’t you accuse “SJWs” of being too fragile with their safe-spacing BS and that they should just grow a thicker skin?

    Ironically, Gaters might have had a point about “SJWs”, a term I don’t use because I don’t like cliches, but which I saw in action long before GG — if Gaters weren’t exactly like them in their attempts to censor material which runs contrary to their view of the world. Worse, Gaters add on top of that a layer of hypocrisy by pretending they’re for free speech when they are in actuality the commissars of free speech.

    Hence my incomprehension at the SPJ’s desire to give in to the desires of people whose ideas run contrary to freedom of the press. Gater are not just anti-free-press, but anti-intellectual and anti-art as well. Trumpism with training wheels.

  • David Kleidon

    It was trash journalism / click-bait at best. The story lacked one very important ingredient, FACTS ! The story was based on pure innuendo, not a single fact to back up the article. Also the ex-employees were from a website called Glassdoor where anyone could post that they work for a company and had issues when they never in fact even worked there. It was such trash, just like the author, pure trash!

  • itsnotmyfault

    I love the Adrian Chmielarz piece. I was so disappointed when it wasn’t a finalist for a feature story (because I nominated as a feature), but now there’s some recognition for his cautious, well-researched, thoughtful, and thought provoking writing. I hope he wins!


Twitter Facebook Google Plus RSS Instagram Pinterest Pinterest LinkedIn

© Society of Professional Journalists. All rights reserved. Legal

Society of Professional Journalists
Eugene S. Pulliam National Journalism Center, 3909 N. Meridian St., Indianapolis, IN 46208
317/927-8000 | Fax: 317/920-4789 | Contact SPJ Headquarters | Employment Opportunities | Advertise with SPJ