The Iranian spy service has been accused of threatening foreign journalists from global media outlets, including those based in the West, in order to influence coverage of the regime to hide its serial human rights abuses.

The intimidation, which has been documented by the group “Reporters Without Borders,” also allegedly involves threats to the family members of journalists. The group says it knows of at least 50 foreign journalists covering Iran who have been similarly threatened and intimidated in the past year:

Outlets such as the BBC and Voice of America have been subjected to threats and in some cases have had their computers hijacked by Iran, according to the report, which states that “all international media outlets with Persian-language services are concerned” about the Islamic Republic’s often-secret efforts to blackmail reporters in order to gain positive headlines.

The effort is just one part of how Iran blackmails, threatens, and manipulates journalists and dissident voices in order to suppress coverage of its human rights abuses and other illicit activities, such as an ongoing massive military buildup aimed at confronting Western nations such as the United States.

Source: Washington Free Beacon

Why it’s on our radar: It’s not unusual for authoritarian governments who behave badly to intimidate reporters and journalists as a means of curbing press freedoms. But it’s also not unusual for such governments to intimidate reporters when it has something to hide, and this is what makes Iran’s actions noteworthy.

The reporter watchdog group also suspects that coverage of the so-called Iranian “nuclear deal” was also unduly influenced by Tehran’s spy service.

“It was insane,” one writer who is critical of Iran and attended the nuclear negotiations in Vienna said. “They would openly get in the faces of Iranian reporters from Western outlets and take pictures just to make sure that the journalists knew that the regime knew who they were and they were being watched. It’s impossible to imagine this didn’t significantly influences the coverage that came out of the nuclear talks, and even more broadly.”

That deal directly affects the lives of hundreds of millions of Europeans and Americans, not to mention tens of millions more throughout the Middle East that Iran seeks to dominate. Tainted coverage increases the likelihood people weren’t provided details and intricacies of the deal that may favor Iran at the security expense of other nations.