A useful overview from Al Jazeera English's Listening Post on the regime's latest crackdown on the press, with the imprieonment of 15 journalists in the past week. The programme notes the catalyst of the June Presidential election and the economic crisis, as well as the context of the regime's repression and the protests after the disputed 2009 Presidential vote.
Just as telling is the attempt to frame this as a "debate". Saeed Kamali Dehghan of The Guardian, Kasra Naji of BBC Persian, Maziar Bahari --- who was himself detained for four months in 2009 --- Reza Marsahi of the National Iranian American Council, and Hadi Ghaemi of the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran explain the assault on the media.
So who will defend the regime?
US-based commentator Hillary Mann Leverett will:
The Government's expectation of the media will be to report, to act as journalists and report the politics that are going on. The concern the Government will have is when reporting changes into trying to undermine, if not overthrow, the system....
The Iranian Government has clearly, repeatedly, transparently that it sees --- and there's obejctive credibility to this --- the Voice of America and the BBC Persian service as propaganda arms, tools of their Government to undermine, if not overthrow, the system of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Are the Iranians crazy in the belief that these media, so-called media, propaganda tools are working to undermine the Government? No, I don't think they are.