Authoritarian regimes often dream through propaganda. To see what they're fantasizing about, we regularly check in on what state-controlled media outlets have been churning out.
Iran celebrates the Arab Spring everywhere except Syria
Behind the scenes of the Arab Spring, Shiite-led Iran and Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia have been jockeying for influence in the region--a fact on display in the Iranian state media's coverage of the Middle East uprisings today. The Fars News Agency criticizes Bahrain's "Saudi-backed forces" for engaging in a "brutal crackdown" on "peaceful" and (largely Shiite) protesters on Friday. In a separate article, the agency emphasizes the "Islamic nature" of the Middle East uprisings, casts Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution as the inspiration behind the protests, and leaves out one critical country in its review of the Arab Spring:
Since the beginning of 2011, the Muslim world has witnessed popular uprisings and revolutions similar to what happened in Iran in 1979. Tunisia saw the overthrow of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in a popular revolution in January, which was soon followed by a revolution which toppled Hosni Mubarak in Egypt in February.
Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Saudi Arabia and Yemen have since been the scene of protests against their totalitarian rulers, who have resorted to brutal crackdown on demonstrations to silence their critics.
The glaring omission, of course, is Syria, which happens to be a close ally of Iran's. In a report today, the Mehr News Agency endorses the Syrian government's claim that the regime is battling "armed terrorist groups," not peaceful protesters.
North Korea: Let them eat literacy
Instead of focusing on the country's worsening food crisis, the state-run Korean Central News Agency has spent the last two days flooding its site with stories highlighting North Korea's scholastic achievements. An article today notes the the strides the country has made in "tele-education," part of the government's larger bid, detailed by the AP in July, to increase digital literacy among its citizens. A separate piece lauds the "literary writing activities" of young North Koreans, who have produced works "reflecting the ardent yearnings of the Korean people and school youth and children for President