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Iran president urges Iranian journalists to dig for truth amid fake news

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani has praised the role of journalists in countering fake news through their “relentless pursuit of reality” at a time when “people’s hope and trust is being targeted”.

In a message on Friday commemorating the National Journalists’ Day, Rouhani said now that Iran is under the maximum pressure of US sanctions, it needs journalists who pull the reality out of the rubble of distortion, and add a real hope to the judgments and analyses, making them more realistic.

The president described the national journalists’ day as a day of commemorating precious values like truth-seeking and awareness raising.

“At a time when fake news and false accounts are targeting the people’s hope and trust, we are more than ever in need of a relentless pursuit of reality, awareness raising and unbiased account of events,” he added.

Rouhani said “our world and our country still need human beings who prefer truth to any belonging, and shed light on the complications, ambiguities, and darkness of our time.”

“In the battle of accounts and in the confrontation of authentic/fake and valid/invalid data, our country is wholeheartedly praising journalists who report the reality in full, whether it is bitter or sweet,” the president added.

“We believe awareness is a strong shield for the society, and a safe shelter for public opinion. Our future hinges on choices, and the consequence of choices depends on the existence or nonexistence of awareness,” Rouhani said.

The Iranian president praised the journalists’ role these days, amid the COVID-19 outbreak, and described them as protectors of both truth and health.

“One can see the heroes of Iran’s confrontation with the coronavirus pandemic both in hospitals and the medical system and in production sector of the economy and among media professionals,” he added.

His remarks came a week after Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei touched on a disinformation campaign, which works hand in hand with the sanctions and includes distortion of truth and misrepresentation of realities.

The main purpose of the disinformation campaign is to undermine the people’s morale, and to offer wrong solutions to people’s problems, Ayatollah Khamenei said. 

August 8 has been designated National Journalists’ Day in Iran after Taliban militants in Afghanistan killed Mahmoud Saremi, the correspondent of the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), along with eight Iranian diplomats, at the Iranian consulate in the northern Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif in 1998.

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