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April 24, 2014

Is 'The Daily Show' to Blame for Journalist's Detention in Iran?

by Ron Mwangaguhunga, posted Nov 24th 2009 3:25PM
The Daily Show With Jon StewartIs Jon Stewart responsible for getting a Newsweek journalist jailed in Iran?

In June, Newsweek's Maziar Bahari, who has covered Iran for over a decade, participated in a 'Daily Show' skit in the aftermath of Iran's controversial election. Bahari was interviewed by tongue-in-cheek 'Daily Show' correspondent Jason Jones. "He dressed like some character out of a B movie about mercenaries in the Middle East -- with a checkered Palestinian kaffiyeh around his neck and dark sunglasses," wrote Bahari afterwards.

Evidently the Iranian regime didn't get the joke. On June 21, four days after the skit aired, the writer was detained without cause. Maziar Bahari was held, in his own words, for "118 days, 12 Hours, 54 Minutes."The Daily Show With Jon StewartIs Jon Stewart responsible for getting a Newsweek journalist jailed in Iran?

In June, Newsweek's Maziar Bahari, who has covered Iran for over a decade, participated in a 'Daily Show' skit in the aftermath of Iran's controversial election. Bahari was interviewed by tongue-in-cheek 'Daily Show' correspondent Jason Jones. "He dressed like some character out of a B movie about mercenaries in the Middle East -- with a checkered Palestinian kaffiyeh around his neck and dark sunglasses," wrote Bahari afterwards.

Evidently the Iranian regime didn't get the joke. On June 21, four days after the skit aired, the writer was detained without cause. Maziar Bahari was held, in his own words, for "118 days, 12 Hours, 54 Minutes."

Bahari recounted in this week's Newsweek cover story his interrogation at the hands of Iranian officials. Several security officers roused Bahari from his sleep at 7AM on the Sunday after his 'Daily Show' segment aired in June and detained the journalist. Five days later, on June 26, the security officers confronted him with a DVD of his appearance. An interrogator who Bahari calls "Mr. Rosewater" said, "We have interesting video footage of you. That may persuade you to be more cooperative."

"It's just comedy," Bahari replied, "feeling weak." "Can you tell us why an American journalist pretending to be a spy has chosen you to interview?" one of the interrogators asked Bahari. He was accused of being a spy for the CIA and MI6, among other things.

Bahari was released after 118 days in time to witness the birth of his daughter Marianna.

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