Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Another Propaganda Outlet

In the middle of all the troubling news coming from everywhere, this is not a priority topic, but I still think the issue is worth a quick mention. Yesterday, a friend of mine alerted me to this interview with Israeli analyst Meir Javedanfar on the Dutch government funded Radio Zamaneh. Apparently a number of journalists had vociferously objected to the piece, which just crudely repeats official Israeli propaganda about what is happening in Gaza, but the new Zamaneh management/editorial crew, decided to run the piece anyway. (It is very telling that the book that is advertised on the right hand column of the interview is that of Mehdi Khalaji, who works for the Israeli lobby think tank, Washington Institute for Near East policy).

Although I am in principle against foreign government funded outlets aimed at Iranian audiences, I know a lot of bright and talented journalists (many of whom have since quit) who worked with Zamaneh and produced some impressive content. Unfortunately, since such media are by definition agenda-driven--their lofty claims about democracy and free and fair journalism notwithstanding--it was only a matter of time before Zamaneh went the way of US State Department funded Radio Farda and Voice of America.

There is much more that I want to say about Zamaneh and its predecessors, but for now, I just wanted to express my frustration about both the interview with Javednafar and the censorship of the moderator who refused to put my comment, despite the fact that I was polite and merely expressed my disappointment in what is happening to the site. If you look at the site now, the negative comments far outnumber the supportive ones, but I suppose they still wanted to somewhat save face and not show how much they have angered their soon-to-be-former audience.

That's all for now, Happy 2009.