Iran State media demonizing free press: this is how they do it

Oppressive regimes in the Middle-East often use State Media to vilify and demonize independent sources of news. For a non-Arabic or non-Persian speaking public, it may be difficult to understand just how vicious these attacks can become.

In the case of Iran, broadcasters like my own Radio Zamaneh are the frequent subject of violent criticism by state-controlled media.  Of late, the Persian service of the BBC is being targeted, possibly for airing a documentary on Supreme Leader Khamenei a while ago.

I thought it would be interesting for a non-Persian speaking audience to provide an ad verbatim translation of one such attack against the BBC, which was aired on September 27th, 2011, on one of the major TV news channels. I won’t comment on it too much; just read it for yourself. Note that the Baha’i, mentioned in the news broadcast, is a faith forbidden in Iran, whose adherents are severely persecuted by the authorities.

Iranian TV comments on detention of people accused of cooperating with BBC

[News presenter] The detention in Tehran of a number of people connected to the government-linked television in England, the BBC, appears to be one of those cases that, the more the opposite side denies something, the more confident everyone becomes that there was in fact something going on.

Since the detention last week of a number of people linked to the BBC, the
official television in England has become pretty agitated, and some people
inside the country have also become very active revealing their hidden
agenda.

Only a few days ago, the intelligence minister [Heydar Moslehi] revealed the true nature of the BBC network which is working as a media cover for
England’s intelligence organization, carrying out intelligence activities
inside Iran.

[Actuality of a female BBC Persian newsreader] The BBC Persian says that it is an independent network and does not have any colleagues working for it inside Iran.

[Actuality of a male BBC Persian newsreader] The BBC Persian does not have anyone cooperating with it inside Iran, and basically it [BBC Persian] does not cooperate with anyone in that country.

[Actuality of an interview with a male BBC employee] Basically, we do not
have anyone cooperating with us inside Iran.

[News presenter] Those three people repeated that phrase in a single night
and in a single BBC newscast. The BBC repeated the same phrase several times on previous days. Why the official network of England is insisting so much that it does not have anyone cooperating with it inside Iran? It seems that the BBC’s repeated denials are somewhat amateurish and hasty, and instead of helping to prove its claim, it is helping its audience to come to the conclusion that the real story is something else. But, what is the real
story?

A few days ago, the intelligence minister said that the BBC network was
indeed a media cover for intelligence activities and the network is in fact
a Baha’i network.

[Actuality of a BBC Persian programme in which the presenter says] Today we have come to the port city of Haifa, in the north of Israel. Let us visit
this place, the international centre for the Baha’is in order to know the
Baha’is better and to see what they do here in Israel. A few streets away, I
went to visit Albert Lincoln, the secretary-general of the Baha’i community.

[News presenter] What is noteworthy here is the serious efforts of certain
people and currents who support the people who were linked to this Baha’i
network which pretends to be a media source but it is in fact an
intelligence network. House of Cinema which itself believes to be a trade,
issued a statement immediately after the detention of the people who were
linked with the BBC and said that the detentions were the result of a big
misunderstanding. This pretend trade even issued a second statement
supporting those who were detained and expressed regret about their
detention. In order to justify those people’s cooperation with the Baha’i
BBC network, the House of Cinema claimed that they cooperated [with the BBC] in order to earn a living. The interesting thing here is that the head of
the BBC Persian, despite previous denials that those people were linked with the BBC, has expressed his regret [about their detention].

[Actuality of the head of the BBC Persian] I really regret the detention of
those who are accused of cooperating with the BBC.

[News presenter] It seems that the circle of people linked with the Baha’i
BBC network, who are carrying out intelligence activities under the guise of media activity, has extensive and complicated dimensions. The majority of those people have been identified and we should wait to be informed about the dimensions of the case in future days.

[Video shows a BBC logo, as well as a logo saying “Baha’i Broadcasting
Corporation”]

Source: Vision of the Islamic Republic of Iran Network 2, Tehran, in Persian, 1700 gmt 27 Sep 11  – translation provided by BBC Monitoring

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