Connect with us

Media

What America Has Learned From Iranian Social Media – BNN

Published

 on


(Bloomberg Opinion) — Most Americans have no idea who Nahid Shirbisheh is. But in Iran, she has become a powerful symbol of resistance. A little over a year ago, she witnessed her son’s murder at a government protest in Tehran. Last month she released a video made at the location of his killing that went viral in Iran.

When I spoke to her last month, she surprised me by thanking the Trump administration. “They mentioned my son’s name and my own name and they supported my voice when my son was killed and I was in prison,” she said.

President Donald Trump’s Iran policy was designed mostly to coerce the regime into a better nuclear deal than the one it joined in 2015. U.S.-imposed sanctions were not meant to pressure Iran’s rulers to release political prisoners or to allow a referendum on the powers of the supreme leader, as Iranian activists have been demanding for years. Even if Trump’s policy had succeeded, which it didn’t, Iranians would still be stuck with their oppressors.

That said, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has called out the regime’s human-rights abuses. He has highlighted its corruption and told the stories of its dissidents and victims. Most intriguing, he has empowered a small staff at the State Department to use Iranian social media to help craft U.S. public diplomacy with Iranians.

This is where Shirbisheh comes in. A year ago, Pompeo mentioned the murder of Shirbisheh’s son, Pouya Bakhtiari, at a little-covered event on human rights in Iran. The State Department made sure that the speech was translated and promoted on the U.S. Farsi-language social-media accounts.

This new approach owes a lot to Mora Namdar, an Iranian-American Pompeo met in 2018 in Dallas. A lawyer by training, Namdar was hired that year as an adviser to Brian Hook, the U.S. envoy to Iran. Namdar and a social media guru named Len Khodorkovsky soon took over the State Department’s Farsi-language Instagram and Telegram accounts, using them to gauge which messages resonated with the Iranian public.

Pompeo’s mention of Bakhtiari was an example of how this process worked. Namdar had noticed how this particular story was trending and pressed Pompeo to include it in his speech. Likewise, the State Department’s 2019 decision to ban visas for both senior regime officials and their families was driven by social media posts inside Iran expressing anger that Iranian elites were able to attend U.S. and Western universities, while many average Iranians were cut off from these schools.

This counts as small but meaningful change. The State Department had generally used its Farsi social media accounts as a broadcast platform — a way to reinforce what it was already saying. The department’s new approach treated social media as a channel to learn what Iranians thought about both their own regime and U.S. policy.

A complementary piece of this policy involves more outreach to Iranian Americans. Under President Barack Obama, much of that outreach was done through the National Iranian American Council, an advocacy group that has largely cultivated a relationship with the Democratic Party and sought to portray Iranian-Americans as supportive of diplomacy with the Iranian regime. Under Trump, the State Department went out of its way to engage Iranians who want the U.S. to help destabilize that regime.

“As we speak to Iranians who live in exile or who have made homes in the United States, we find a common thread,” said Elliott Abrams, who has replaced Hook as the U.S. special envoy for Iran. Their message, he said, is this: “Don’t forget the Iranian people.” In his talks with Iranian-Americans, Abrams said, he has heard criticism as well. They don’t want U.S. policy to focus only on the regime, and they don’t want diplomatic deals “that abandon the Iranian people and keep the regime in place forever.”

This is not to say that the U.S. government should assume the responsibility for transitioning Iran to a democracy. That was, is and should remain a task for the Iranian people. But having a small group at the State Department that follows what Iranian activists say on social media is a useful way to gauge the regime’s legitimacy. Over time, it could be a valuable way to communicate directly with the Iranians who might one day be in charge of the country.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

Eli Lake is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering national security and foreign policy. He was the senior national security correspondent for the Daily Beast and covered national security and intelligence for the Washington Times, the New York Sun and UPI.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Media

Quebec media must be allowed to show the ravages of COVID-19 – CBC.ca

Published

 on


Editor’s note: Nineteen media outlets in Quebec, including the CBC, have signed an open letter today calling on the Quebec government and public-health authorities to give journalists access to the province’s health institutions.


In March of 2020, the world started to grasp the magnitude of the developing public health crisis when disturbing images began to emerge from Italy.

Photos and videos showed patients crammed into hospitals, many of them intubated, while distraught doctors bore witness to the seriousness of the situation.

It was this imagery, more than any World Health Organization announcement or press release, that made people the world over aware of the gravity of the pandemic. It also helped many of them more readily accept government confinement measures.

However, in Quebec such images are exceedingly rare because government and public-health authorities have chosen to shut the doors of the province’s health institutions to the media, a restriction with little precedent in the rest of the world. 

With very few exceptions, Quebec reporters and photographers, eager to bear witness to the plight of patients and health-care staff amid the pandemic, have had their requests for access to hospitals and CHSLDs denied.

These refusals by Quebec’s regional health boards and the minister of health are all the more astonishing in light of the fact that hospital managers have often been open to media visits, while caregivers have also expressed interest in opening doors to their institutions.

Hospitalizations for COVID-19 spiked in Quebec earlier this month, reaching heights not seen since spring. (Ivanoh Demers/Radio-Canada)

They understand that the absence of images of the pandemic allows some to minimize the severity of COVID-19, to liken its symptoms to that of the common flu, or even to diminish the need to follow public-health directives.

This is precisely why it is of utmost of importance for Quebecers to hear directly from embattled doctors, nurses and orderlies, as well as the patients they are treating, in order to accurately report the harsh realities being experienced behind those closed doors.

Health-care workers, after all, are the primary witnesses to what goes on inside our health institutions. They must be allowed to speak freely about what they are observing during this crisis.

Of course the Quebec media is acutely aware of the risks associated with COVID-19. This is why Quebec journalists have rigorously adhered to all public-health guidelines while in the field during this pandemic, and would do so just as conscientiously in any health-care setting.

In the name of freedom of information, we, the representatives of Quebec’s major media organizations, are calling on the Quebec government and public-health authorities to give journalists access to the province’s health institutions, where the battle being waged is one that affects all Quebecers.

Signatories:

Benoit Dussault, Executive Director, 24 heures 

George Kalogerakis, Editor-in-chief, Agence QMI 

Helen Evans, Managing Editor, CBC Quebec 

Melanie Porco, Supervising Producer, CityNews Montreal (Citytv) 

Chris Bury, Program & News Director, CJAD 800 

Julie-Christine Gagnon, News Director, 98.5, Cogeco News 

Jed Kahane, News Director, CTV News 

Karen Macdonald, News Director/Station Manager, Global News Montreal 

Martin Picard, Vice-President, COO of Content, Groupe TVA Inc. 

Dany Doucet, Editor-in-chief, Journal de Montréal 

Sébastien Ménard, Editor-in-chief, Journal de Québec 

François Cardinal, Deputy Publisher, La Presse  

Brian Myles, Editor, Le Devoir 

Stéphane Lavallée, General Manager, Les coops de l’information 

Lucinda Chodan, Editor, Montreal Gazette 

Luce Julien, Executive Director, News and Currents Affairs, Société Radio-Canada 

Geneviève Rossier, Editor and General manager, The Canadian Press, French service 

Xavier Brassard-Bédard, Editor-in-chief, TVA Nouvelles/LCN

Jean-Nicolas Gagné, General Manager, QUB radio

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Media

New social media campaign targets COVID-19 misinformation with science – Global News

Published

 on


Microsoft founder Bill Gates did not create the virus that causes COVID-19 and he is not forcing microchips into your body through vaccinations.

Those pieces of misinformation are examples of what a group of Canadian scientists and health professionals is trying to discredit through a new campaign tackling inaccurate theories about the pandemic.

About 40 misinformation debunkers are using the hashtag #ScienceUpFirst to provide science-based evidence on social media.

“There’s been misinformation about all kinds of things that you can do to treat COVID with crazy treatments like cow urine and bleach,” said Prof. Timothy Caulfield, Canadian research chair in health law and policy at the University of Alberta.

Read more:
Misinformation is spreading as fast as coronavirus. It will ‘take a village’ to fight it

Story continues below advertisement

Caulfield is spearheading the #ScienceUpFirst movement.

“And now we’re in the middle of trying to roll out the vaccine and we know that misinformation is having an adverse impact on vaccination.

“Things like the vaccine will change your DNA. No, it won’t. The idea that the vaccine is associated with infertility. No, it’s not,” Caulfield said Monday in a phone interview.

“There is just an incredible amount of misinformation out there about COVID. I’ve been studying misinformation for decades. I’ve never seen anything like this.”


Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Hinshaw touts safety of both COVID-19 vaccines'



1:45
Coronavirus: Hinshaw touts safety of both COVID-19 vaccines


Coronavirus: Hinshaw touts safety of both COVID-19 vaccines

He said the campaign was already trending on Twitter on Monday, the day of its launch.

Read more:
Cabbage, cavemen and miracle cures: how fast-moving COVID-19 science can confuse the public

Story continues below advertisement

Caulfield is known for taking Gwyneth Paltrow’s wellness brand Goop to task in his book Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong about Everything? and a Netflix series A User’s Guide to Cheating Death.

[ Sign up for our Health IQ newsletter for the latest coronavirus updates ]

The initiative is in collaboration with the Canadian Association of Science Centres, COVID-19 Resources Canada, and the Health Law Institute at the University of Alberta.


Click to play video 'Tim Caulfield Targets Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop'



3:38
Tim Caulfield Targets Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop


Tim Caulfield Targets Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop – Sep 6, 2017

“There’s been research that has shown that the spread of misinformation is having an adverse impact on health and science policy, it’s led to increased stigma and discrimination, and it’s just added to the chaotic information environment that we all have to deal with,” Caufield said.

“The evidence tells us that debunking does work if you do it well, so we’re trying to do it well. We’re trying to listen. We’re trying to be empathetic in our approach. We’re trying to be creative in our messaging and, hopefully, even if we move the needle a little bit, we can make a difference.”

Story continues below advertisement

A spokesperson for #ScienceUpFirst says the campaign is pushing to involve Canadian athletes and celebrities to get the word out about tackling misinformation.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Media

'ScienceUpFirst': Social media campaign targets COVID-19 misinformation with science – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

Published

 on


Fakiha Baig, The Canadian Press


Published Monday, January 25, 2021 8:42AM EST


Last Updated Monday, January 25, 2021 5:20PM EST

EDMONTON – Microsoft founder Bill Gates did not create the virus that causes COVID-19 and he is not forcing microchips into your body through vaccinations.

Those pieces of misinformation are examples of what a group of Canadian scientists and health professionals is trying to discredit through a new campaign tackling inaccurate theories about the pandemic.

About 40 misinformation debunkers are using the hashtag #ScienceUpFirst to provide science-based evidence on social media.

“There’s been misinformation about all kinds of things that you can do to treat COVID with crazy treatments like cow urine and bleach,” said Prof. Timothy Caulfield, Canadian research chair in health law and policy at the University of Alberta.

Caulfield is spearheading the #ScienceUpFirst movement.

“And now we’re in the middle of trying to roll out the vaccine and we know that misinformation is having an adverse impact on vaccination.

“Things like the vaccine will change your DNA. No, it won’t. The idea that the vaccine is associated with infertility. No, it’s not,” Caulfield said Monday in a phone interview.

“There is just an incredible amount of misinformation out there about COVID. I’ve been studying misinformation for decades. I’ve never seen anything like this.”

He said the campaign was already trending on Twitter on Monday, the day of its launch.

Caulfield is known for taking actor Gwyneth Paltrow’s wellness brand Goop to task in his book “Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong about Everything?” as well as for a Netflix series called “A User’s Guide to Cheating Death.”

The initiative is in collaboration with the Canadian Association of Science Centres, COVID-19 Resources Canada, and the Health Law Institute at the University of Alberta.

“There’s been research that has shown that the spread of misinformation is having an adverse impact on health and science policy, it’s led to increased stigma and discrimination, and it’s just added to the chaotic information environment that we all have to deal with,” Caufield said.

“The evidence tells us that debunking does work if you do it well, so we’re trying to do it well. We’re trying to listen. We’re trying to be empathetic in our approach. We’re trying to be creative in our messaging and, hopefully, even if we move the needle a little bit, we can make a difference.”

A spokesperson for #ScienceUpFirst says the campaign is pushing to involve Canadian athletes and celebrities to get the word out about tackling misinformation.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 25, 2021.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Trending