As a broadcast journalist, it’s sometimes good to watch TV channels like the BBC and Fox News as they can give you a clear glimpse of how you would cover world affairs if your moral standards weren’t to match those of a responsible media outlet. But seeing how much effort those channels are putting into demonizing an ancient civilization like Iran is sometimes just disgusting.
“Be happy that you live in the United States because if you were in Iran, you would be arrested for being happy.” That’s the opening statement of a Fox News presenter shortly before reading the news just a day after Iranian police arrested members of a music band for dancing to Pharrell William’s song ‘Happy’ and posting the video on the internet.
Although I never endorsed the police action and the subsequent handling of the issue in Iran, I could not understand the media frenzy in the West that followed the story at a time when the incarceration of hundreds of thousands of people in the US, the execution of an abnormally large number of Americans who are found to be innocent only after their deaths and the US failure to shut down the Guantanamo Bay prison that’s been keeping people in detention for years without charge all escape the mainstream media’s ‘watchful eyes’.
One can easily understand why the American neo-cons’ fascist TV channel Fox News—which is under heavy influence by the Zionist lobby that has held America hostage for over six decades now—would want to demonize Iran. But understanding the reason when it comes to the Queen of England’s BBC will certainly need deeper insight.
I was watching a round-table discussion on the BBC’s Persian Service regarding the appointment of the new president of the Iranian national broadcasting. The program’s three guests were all self-exiled journalists and political commentators who had very little, if any, knowledge about the topic in question.
As a person who has worked in Iran’s print and broadcast media since 1997, I could not relate to any of the arguments raised in the program. It was as though I was watching a fictional play on an amateur stage. The guests’ words and arguments were focused on one basic point and, to my surprise, they spoke with one voice trying their best to convince the BBC’s audience that the new head of the national broadcasting in Iran is a security-oriented individual that will pave the way for the country’s security apparatus to play a greater role in national TV and radio stations. One of them even went so far as to claim that this new media chief is taking the helm at a time when Iran’s most security-oriented administration in decades is in charge of the country.
I did not take the program seriously at all until a friend called me a day later and told me about a similar project launched and almost the same arguments raised by a UK-based website that is run by Maziar Bahari –- another self-exiled Iranian well-known for deceiving Jon Stewart, the famous American talk show host who risked his hard-earned reputation by making his directorial debut on Bahari’s book of lies.
In an article published on Bahari’s website, the writer tries hard to draw a security portrait of national Iranian broadcasting under Mohammad Sarafraz, an Iranian war veteran and media genius best known for his piety, professionalism and steadfastness in the face of the West’s global media hegemony, as well as being the founder and former CEO of Press TV.
But why is the Queen of England’s BBC and other media tools dedicating air time and online space to portraying a top Iranian media personality as a security man?
To answer that question we need to go back a few years in time. In 2011, thousands of young people took to the streets of London to protest police brutality, injustice and dire economic conditions. In the absence of live coverage by the Queen’s BBC of the violent police crackdown on the protesters, Press TV’s cameras were all over the place. Even though security forces attacked a Press TV journalist, beat him and smashed his camera while live on television, the channel kept interviewing people on the street and showing how their demands were being met with batons thus making them even more furious and riotous.
While some argued that Press TV’s extensive coverage of the London protests was a timely response to the BBC’s extensive coverage of the 2009 post-election unrest in Iran, no one questioned the Iranian channel’s fairness and professionalism in covering what the British media should have covered, but did not.
Also, Press TV’s coverage of the growing public anger over the British Royal family’s lavish expenditures at the expense of the have-nots, and the channel giving a podium to republican activists who call the monarchy an archaic, wasteful and undemocratic system of governance that must be abolished, prompted some elements within the Royal family to openly threaten the channel’s London bureau personnel. Detaining the Press TV London bureau chief, warning its journalists and commentators, temporarily freezing the channel’s assets and finally taking it off the air in Britain were among the Royal family’s means of putting pressure on the only international media outlet that’s embarked on revealing the truth about those running a country that has left unforgettably bitter memories in almost every country in the world.
Moreover, Press TV shed light on the fact that the Persian Gulf region’s oppressive monarchies were indeed created by Britain. One can name Saudi Arabia and Bahrain—both internationally recognized as top human rights violators that crack down on their own civilian population in the most violent ways possible if they protest. Press TV keeps reminding its audience that women in the UK-founded Saudi Arabia are deprived of the most basic human rights while London keeps silent. The above-mentioned points make it understandable why the British Royal family’s media are stepping up efforts against Iran and the country‘s new broadcasting chief and former Press TV CEO.
What remains to be seen is how long they can try to keep doing it as Iran’s national TV and radio stations, under the leadership of Mohammad Sarafraz, will soon join Press TV in enlightening the public in the face of the campaign of misinformation underway by the Queen’s BBC Persian Service.
By Hamid Reza Emadi