The swedish media coverage of the protests outside the iranian embassy and the storming of it is with some exceptions like Sydsvenskan and Kinga Sandén and Nerikes Allehanda and Pär Thorsén, a real disapointment. We have democratic rights, right to demonstrate, freedom of speech, but every time people gathers to demonstrate the media does everything it can to turn the freedom to demonstrate to a suspicious and violent act. There is little understanding of power and resistance and media repeatedley confuses these two conceptions. The exceptions are good but few, (and even fewer if there are demonstrations against Israel, US, against wests’ interests that is).
In this case once again media covered mainly one side of the story. They wrote very little about the excessive violence that the embassy personel used. Even if they have right to protect the embassy area and themselves, we need to discuss to what extent and if it is right that irThe worse media coverage was probably done by Swedish television channel SVT, it only tells us that one from the embassy personel got injured, nothing about the violence they used against several demonstrators nothing about knives, tasers, big heavy iron batons, guns. Is it hard to understand that the protesters used selfdefence? After all it was not the demonstrators that was armed with different kinds of weapons.
I interviewed one of the victims of the violence,a 60 year old woman with heart disease. SvD have an interview sequence with her on their web, but they have written nothing about the shots from the taser that she received in their articles, they have not taking her words seriously. The starting point is that you have yourself to blame if you are on a demonstration, any injury or harresment is accepted. In this way the freedom to assembly and demonstrate is poorly defended by swedish media that is supposed to be free and non-biased.
It was not hard to find eyewitnesses. Several people gave similar stories about the man who got stabbed in his arm with a knife, so badly, that he went to the hospital with the ambulance. (This wasn’t confirmed by the police, I don’t know why). And I spoke to a man with his camera full of pictures of injured protesters, protesters that had entered the embassy area without permission yes, but very few of them used any force and even less violence. You see that the majority on the embassy area, maybe 30 people, walk around peacefully before they voluntarily withdraw. Some people threw stones, 3-4 people smashed windows, others used self-defence and defend others from the heavily armed embassy personal. We all know that embassy personal have immunity and they do not have any reasons to hestitate of using their tasers, their ironbatons, knives. I can not understand how the focus can be on the protestors’ acts and not on the embassy personels’ who according to several witnesses provocated by showing their guns and attacking the first woman to enter with tasers, even though she screamed that she had weak heart.
All these things are missed in the media coverage because the journalists turned to the police and embassy people instead of turning to more eyewitnesses and participants. In one article in SvD the only thing the policeman says is that stones have been thrown, and people wear masks and that there have been some riots, besides that he doesn’t know. They could not confirm any injuries among the protesters even though anybody who asked around easily found the injured people. Honestly, its good to ask the police but they can seldom answer better than this. The police(wo)mens’ words are called objective. But what is objective worth if it can’t tell us anything?
Media should not have only talked to more demonstrators, they should also should have went further from that, taking their word seriously and digged deeper in their explanations, taking pictures of their injuries, and demanding the embassy personal explanations of the violence. This have not been done! I don’t think it’s enough explanation to say that iranian embassy personel can do what they want on their own area. It is still of interest what they do and the violence and weapons they use in their own area. It says a lot about the regime in Iran.
The iranian protest showed once again that demonstrating is a suspicious act in Sweden, and that if violence arises you blame it firstly on the demonstrators, and journalists never asks them about what really happened. In that sense the power, the police, the media has its similarities with the iranian regime, with any totalitarian regime, even though the dignity of the problems in Iran is so much larger and in some ways fundemantally different.
You can not stress enough how important citizen journalism is. We have to continue taking pictures, movies, and twitter from demonstrations because we can not rely on the media and how the coverage will be, it is very dependent on the individual journalists and what else is happening that day. By twittering I got in contact with Sydsvenskan and the journalist Kinga Sandén and with journalists from Nerike Allehandas. Make interviews with people and take pictures of the bodily injuries just with your mobile camera and put it easily on you tube, as many people does already. Some things is best reported from the inside, and from people without any prestige. Subjective stories tell us sides of the reality that the objective reports from authorities never will or can. Even if the pictures are shaky and up side down they are important, I stand with that.
Läs även andra bloggares åsikter om iranska ambassaden, stormning av iranska ambassaden, iran, irandemonstrationer, demonstrationer för iran,
aftonbladet, DN (not so bad)
Svd, SVT (very bad coverage)
DN skrev så sent som för några dagar sedan om iranska ambassader som hotar media och politiker.