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Published on 20 Dec 2015 | Category : #letter4u (1&2)

Censorship vs. Letter4U: NYTimes, WP censor Leader’s letter after publishing it

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TEHRAN, Dec. 15 – After publishing Ayat. Khamenei’s second letter to the youth in west, NY Times and Washington Post have removed the articles from their websites.

On November 29, Leader of the Islamic Revolution ayatollah Khamenei wrote a letter to the youth in western countries which was motivated by the recent Paris attacks in mid-November. The event – a second after a first letter which was communicated earlier this year in January – was newsworthy enough to have many media outlets and news agencies cover the letter and talk about it – though western mainstream media preferred to cover it to the least possible form.

In a world of easy access to information, the media cannot afford to risk their reputation and credit by ignoring such a newsworthy event. Yet, some American papers seem to have reached a new formula to override this significance of the letter by publishing and then removing the news! As two major American outlets, both ‘New York Times’ and ‘Washington Post’ published the news about the letter the very same day it was published.

Quoting the Associated Press, New York Times wrote that “Iran’s Top Leader Calls Paris Attacks ‘Blind Terrorism’” and according to its website the same title appeared on the print edition.

Washington Post also used the same source and title for its report. But interestingly, only two weeks after the release of the letter and news about it,

When searching for the keyword ‘blind terrorism’ which had appeared in the title of both papers, the search results show the news items here and here, as it is seen in above screenshots all retrieved on Monday Dec. 14 and double-checked on Dec. 15; but it is enough to click on the link to see the Times tells you that “Page No Longer Available… This news-agency article is no longer available on nytimes.com.”

Similarly, Washington Post would tell you “Sorry, we can’t seem to find the page you’re looking for.”

While the mere fact of providing news and then censuring it is unacceptable, such a weird move can be less surprising from less important media such asStars and Stripes which has done the same, but when it comes to mainstream, major media outlets such as the two abovementioned samples, their professionalism and unbiasedness would be questioned.

While many politicians from across the world did not hesitate to react to the terrorist attacks, Ayatollah Khamenei’s letter was a rare reaction by a religious-political leader belonging to Islam; amid huge Islamophobia campaigns in west, Ayatollah Khamenei outspokenly reacted to terrorism and condemned both terrorism and western policies nurturing terrorism.

He, of course, had earlier this year written another letter to the youth in North American and Europe and had called on them to gain their knowledge of Islam through reliable sources and avoid stereotypes on mainstream media and political propagandas.

The first letter in fact was addressing a key notion for western countries whose youths are increasingly being recruited by ISIL and other extremist and terrorist groups. In an age of the internet and social networks in which communication has become fast and easy, Al-Qaeda, ISIL and other extremist groups are abusing the networks  to propagate their misinterpretations of Islam to absorb and recruit more and more young people from different countries around the world. Considering this fact, Leader of the Islamic Revolution in his first message encouraged the youths to read and know Islam by reading correct sources; this is the only way to prevent extremism and fundamentalism being disguised as true Islam.

Moreover, extremism in west is being addressed by radical reactions rooted in Islamophobia and racism; calls for banning Muslims or attacks on Muslims and their entities and buildings in Europe and the United States reveal the deep-rooted radicalism in western policies and societies. Radical measures that alienate Muslims or other minority groups, would inevitably add to further radical reactions by those being discriminated and the domino effect would ruin everything. Here comes the message of ayatollah Khamenei’s second letter which calls on the western societies to avoid discriminatory measures and instead of alienation of minority groups, embrace them and lay foundations for a better communication and mutual understandings between Muslims and non-Muslims. This will prevent grounds for extremism and radicalism in both groups.

Yet, despite practical and realistic views and suggestions offered by Ayatollah Khamenei, western media outlets seem to be trying to curb the word spread and prevent western societies from reading the message. Iran’s broadcasting service IRIB reported on Monday that the letter and reports on it on the websites of its foreign services have received over 19 million views within these two weeks. If western media outlets and newspapers just adhere to their inherent nature of publishing news and information ‘without bias and prejudice,’ this figure can raise to more and more people and public awareness would definitely help rejecting terrorism in a world torn apart by fear of terrorism and filled with wrong policies.

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