The Ideas War between the US and Iran

When the U.S. Treasury Department announced in February that economic sanctions would be imposed on the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, Iran’s state-owned broadcaster, it cited human rights violations as justification for the unusual move. “We will also target those in Iran who are responsible for human right abuses, especially those who deny the Iranian people their basic freedoms of expression, assembly and speech,” Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S. Cohen said in unveiling the restrictions, which also applied to Iranian Cyber Police and other institutions involved in monitoring the...

In Journalist Kidnappings, No Set Rules on Media C...

  James Foley was supposed to arrive by 4. It was Thanksgiving, and Foley, a freelance journalist covering the war in Syria for GlobalPost and Agence France-Presse, was going to meet his friend Nicole Tung, another journalist, in the Turkish border town of Reyhanli to catch up and rest for a couple days. But Foley never showed. “I was starting to worry after 6, 7 p.m., when things were very quiet,” Tung said. “By 10, 11, I knew that something had definitely gone wrong.” When she was finally able to get in touch with someone in Syria who had seen Foley (the witness’s identity is being withheld), Tung learned her friend had been...

Mightier Than the Sword: Political Cartoons in the...

“The best way to escape every day reality is to see cartoons,” says Palestinian journalist Mohammed Omer. But cartoonists in the Middle East don’t just entertain. At times, their work is the only way to openly express dissent, in a region where press freedoms remain endangered . Using symbols and allegory to make their point, sometimes cartoonists are the only ones whose message can pass through the censorship. The first images of Syrian political cartoonist Ali Ferzat after he was attacked in Damascus last year showed him lying in a hospital bed with large bruises on his face – and, most tellingly, with his badly broken...

Hamas-Fatah divide i...

The political fracturing in Gaza and the West Bank, with Hamas and Fatah competing for power, has spread to other institutions – including journalism. This divide has made it extremely difficult for local journalists to report local news and Palestinians are now increasingly looking for...