Since reporting about Mahsa Amini’s death in the hands of Iran’s very own “morality police,” protests have continued throughout the country. As the government continues to find ways to nip this issue in the bud, citizen reports have already captured the attention of the international community. So now, Iran is looking to enforce more stringent rules on catching citizen and professional reporters.
Iran's Nationwide Uprising Is Not 'Leaderless' – OpEdhttps://t.co/y1gwZhCviT
More than a month ago, “morality police” in Tehran accosted 22-year-old Mahsa Amini over the arrangement of her mandatory head covering, subjected her to such physical abuse that she fell into a com… pic.twitter.com/hcWs0rtfjS
— Eurasia Review (@EurasiaReview) October 19, 2022
Aida Ghajar, the journalist who first broke Amini’s story via the local site IranWire, told Washington Post that the government is cracking down on local reporters, so they are finding ways to legally navigate the system. Ghajar said that even though it is challenging in the journalism sector right now, the team is passionate about pushing the truth out there.
“We are tired and we are sad for the people of Iran,” said editor Shima Shahrabi. “But on the other hand, we are determined to make their voices heard louder.”
Another Iranian journalist Maziar Bahari, who had previously worked for Newsweek, said he was detained in Iran’s infamous Evin Prison just because of his reporting. In 2009, Bahari was released, and saw the intention of citizens to put the word out there. Of course, the quality of reports from citizen journalists is not curated, but he understood that almost everyone in Iran is looking for their truth to have a platform. So, Bahari created a news outlet matching journalists outside Iran to citizen journalists (like lawyers, doctors, teachers, and students) to deliver high-quality reporting. By 2014, IranWire already has 6,000 Iranians submitting verifiable event updates.
Unlike in Ukraine, Iran’s internet ban hampers the flow of information. Gissou Nia, a human rights expert, said IranWire’s mission is critical to the movement in the country.
“These journalists that are looking at human rights issues are our main sources of information.”
However, since there is police monitoring on citizen reporters, Nia acknowledges that they are at high risk of being jailed or, worse, killed.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran views human rights work as something that’s subversive to the government.”
In one incident, a 32-year-old Ghazaleh Chalabi was filming protests using her mobile phone when she was immediately shot by a direct bullet from the authorities.
Please Share!#GhazalehChalabi , a 32 year old girl, was filming the protests with her mobile phone in #Iran. She was killed by a direct bullet fired by the Islamic Republic regime. #IranProrests2022
#غزاله_چلابی#مهساامينى #مهسا_امینی #اعتصابات_سراسری pic.twitter.com/py5HUMciaV
— Iman Sefati (@ISefati) October 21, 2022
There are other videos showing the atrocity of Iranian police, mostly showing women being bodyslammed on the floor, kicked in the head, and repeatedly punched until they are too weak to even stand up.
This is the moment that #GhazalehChalabi , a woman protestor, was killed by the Iran regime guard with direct shot while taking video. Her last word is Don’t afraid, we are all together! #IranRevoIution2022 #MahsaAmini #غزاله_چلابی #مهسا_امینی #IranProtests pic.twitter.com/wgFLDznWvF
— Gray (@WomenLFreedom) October 21, 2022
Suing the United States
Yesterday, the Iranian government said they would take legal action against the US for having “direct involvement” in the protests for more than a month. Tehran also released warning notes to the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia and said that the acts of these nations would “not be ignored by the Islamic Republic’s judiciary system.”
Aside from supporting media that features the brutality happening in Iran, there were also solidarity protests that occurred in the US, London, and Berlin this week.
“Be scared. Be scared. We are one in this,” demonstrators yelled before marching to the White House. “Say her name! Mahsa!”
— Rana Rahimpour (@ranarahimpour) October 22, 2022
Berlin. Now. This will be the largest anti Iran regime protest outside of Iran in the history. 3 weeks ago Toronto broke the record with 50,000 people taking part. This will be larger. #MahsaAmini pic.twitter.com/8BJVwKVys8
— Bahman Kalbasi (@BahmanKalbasi) October 22, 2022
US President Joe Biden also supported the demonstrations saying the country stands with the “brave women of Iran who right now are demonstrating to secure their basic rights.” At the same time, the US implemented sanctions against the “morality police” “for abuse and violence against Iranian women and the violation of the rights of peaceful Iranian protesters.”
Iran state media “IRNA” reported their Justice Department “has been tasked to file a lawsuit in order to investigate the damages and meddling inflicted by the US’ direct involvement in the unrest.”
The Biden administration has yet to release an official response, but many political and human rights analysts continue to call for support for the citizens who face threats from the government on a daily basis.