Iran: Journalists demand end to censorship of Iranian media on Instagram

Following the assassination of a high-ranking officer of the Islamic Republic of Iran, posts by Iranian media on Instagram related to his killing, have been deleted by the company. The deleted content includes posts by Iranian media and individual users. The Association of Iranian Journalists in Tehran has written to Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri urging the company stop the censorship of Iranian media.

Credit: Atta Kenare / AFP

In the days following the assassination of Iran’s top general Qassem Soleimani, Instagram has deleted posts and blocked some Iranian users and Iranian media. Posts mentioning Soleimani, both in pictures and in text, have been removed. Individual journalists have also experienced censorship - at least fifteen journalists have reported their profile being suspended. Some profiles have been restored, but posts containing information about Soleimani were deleted permanently. 

The measures have gone even further, and some accounts of Iranian newspapers and news agencies have now been removed from the social media platform. This poses an immediate threat to freedom of information in Iran, as Instagram is the only international social media platform currently still operating in the country.

Media outlets in Farsi, operating from abroad, and other foreign media have not been hit with these restrictive measures.

In its letter to Instagram the AoIJ Teheran dubbed the move as "unprecedented in the history of social networks and in conflict with the very innate actuality of media" and said the action goes "against global standard principles including freedom of speech and media and therefore demands immediate correction of such measures".

IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger said: "At a time when Iranian citizens need access to information it is unacceptable that Instagram should choose to censor Iranian media and individual journalists and users".

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