Nothing is as toxic to democracy as is censorship. Censorship prevents democracy. If Massoud Rajavi’s dictatorship, called the Mujahedin Khalq, still exists in Albania, it does so by means of censorship, because only by that means the MEK’s cult-like system can control its rank and file. Former member of the MEK, Taleb Farhan, testifies about the censorship process that filters all news and information entering the group.
Taleb Farhan was recruited by the MEK agents in the early 2000. As a newly-recruited member he was able to figure out that the news broadcast in camp Ashraf was controversial. “I started doubting the accuracy and reliability of the news that was shown on TV and the news bulletin of Ashraf,” Farhan writes.
“I made efforts to know about the truth,” he adds. “Finally, I was appointed to work in the cultural session of the entrance unit and then in unit 7 of the camp. The task was to record the news of the MEK’s TV channel and then to play it for the rank and file in the eating place, twice a day. We also were in charge of printing and distributing the news bulletin of the group.”
This is while the MEK propaganda claims that “MEK’s network of supporters and activists has played an important role in circumventing the Iranian regime’s censorship of news and creating a flow of information to and from Iran”. The MEK’s own TV channel is censored for the members of the group inside its headquarters. According to Taleb Farhan, certain parts of the news, news reports and films are censored due to a variety of reasons.
One reason which seems very reactionary is recounted by Taleb Farhan: “Many parts of the MEK-run events and gatherings in European countries had to be censored because female participants had no hijab. Female foreign guests of the events had to be censored because they might sexually stimulate members.”
The authorities of the MEK use the notorious techniques of fabricating fake news and launching misinformation. Taleb Farhan states, “They abuse the ignorance of the rank and file about the outside world so they cut out what they do not want to be seen and they just show what is modified in accordance with their own interests.”
The censorship process in the MEK is strict, complicated and frequent. “Although each content was supposed to be checked several times by different levels of the group’s hierarchy, it was once more checked by the commander of each unit before it was played in the eating place,” Farhan adds.
A period of working in the cultural session made Farhan sure that he was right to doubt any information broadcasted in the MEK. “I made sure that the group was trying to deceive the rank and file,” he writes. “The MEK leaders are terrified of their awareness on the realities in the outside world. I believe that Massoud and Maryam Rajavi are not able to rule their members unless they take them as hostages and keep them ignorant.”