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December 1st, 2009 5:18 pm
Iran, British Sailors, and the BBC

For those following the most recent Iranian hostage crisis involving British sailors, Meir Javedanfar has an interesting analysis in The Guardian.  Aside from Iran seemingly picking a fight with the lesser partner in the Anglo-American alliance, the mullahs who run the country may also be responding to a threat from a source they can’t easily control: a Persian language news station operated by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).

BBC’s Persian language radio service dates back to 1940, while its newly inaugurated TV service is now almost one year old. In this short space of time, the TV service has attracted large audiences in Iran, and the reason is simple: it is the most impartial Persian language broadcast available.

This has not been an easy endeavour as it has meant being subject to heavy criticism from both sides. For example, many anti-regime elements, especially monarchists, have at times accused it of being pro-Khamenei, because of its refusal to toe their line of attacking the regime at every opportunity. The fact that the service also looks at the positive aspects of the regime, and portrays the views of both sides has given it much credibility, as well as audience. So when it does broadcast about developments in Iran, especially those that cast the regime in a negative light, many more people are willing to accept its findings, thanks to its credibility and reputation for airing both sides of the story.

A government lashing out at a news outlet because of its fair and balanced reporting?  Only in Iran…

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