0620 GMT July 02, 2020
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas should present proofs for unjustly accusing Iran and a number of other countries of "taking repressive measures” against their journalists amid the COVID-19 outbreak, said the Iranian deputy minister of culture and Islamic guidance for press affairs.
Mohammad Khodadi made the remarks in reaction to a recent speech by Maas at Germany’s parliament (Bundestag), in which he had listed “repressive measures taken against journalists in Russia, Venezuela, Iran, Turkey and China” as “the serious consequences of the COVID-19 outbreak for human rights”.
In a similar instance of releasing erroneous, baseless and exaggerated information, Reporters Without Borders, also known by its French acronym RSF, published in April its annual ranking of countries based on the strength of their press freedoms last week, highlighting several countries – including Iran (ranked 173rd) and China (ranked 177th) – as states whose governments “censored their major coronavirus outbreaks extensively”.
RSF also failed to present the criteria for its ranking of the countries.
“My question is on what basis German officials are raising such an issue,” Khodadi added.
He said the German government’s source of information is disordered, adding either they had received erroneous information or failed to have any just seeking to adopt a stance without a source, which is wrong.
Khodadi also said he expected the German Embassy in Iran to, at least, provide Maas with real information and documentation.