Iran needs foreign press to progress
In response to recent European Union sanctions, major satellite television provider Eutelsat and media company Arqiva have dropped 19 Iranian channels from a network that covers Europe and various parts of the Middle East.
These channels originate from the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting with Press TV being one of the most viewed channels, an English-language platform funded by the Iranian government.
Press TV has undoubtedly been a centerpiece of controversy in the Middle Eastern media industry because of its reach to a wide audience in the Western world and the allegations of an anti-Semitic agenda. Some of Press TV’s stance on subjects definitely teeter on the extreme side, but this does not discredit its mission to give its side of the story to immigrants and those of Iranian descent outside the border.
The website WikiLeaks released a cable in 2010 between the UK Office of Communications and an American diplomat that described the intent to disrupt PressTV’s operations.
The German regulatory body dropped Press TV months ago from its satellite platform and there have also been reports of Arabic news station Al-Alam programs being jammed.
Removing the global communication between Iran and outside countries will prove to be a form of ideological warfare and should be viewed as a checkpoint on the road to any future military aggression from outside countries.
Iran has extreme amounts of pressure from outside military forces and is feeling threatened because of tightening sanctions.
Removing its voice’s reach to the global community that sympathizes with it, is more aggressive than it might appear on the surface.
Although the Iranian channels have the right to complain that the ban of its stations violates Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Iran hardly allows any news agencies into the country.
This basically means that the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting does not want an open forum of expression, instead it wants a platform to vocalize its ideas. The lack of transparency that the Iranian government allows to foreign journalists makes the news stations seem as though it’s propagandistic, whether or not that is true.
While the removal of such a vital information outlet as TV cannot be praised, it is not solely the output of ideas but the exchange that promotes progress. Therefore, the Iranian government needs to be more open to foreign press in its own backyard if it ever hopes to win over media platforms outside its borders.
Whether the Iranian broadcasts have conventional stories like pushing its nuclear program or extremist stories like the conspiracy of a Zionist takeover, if it chooses Press TV or Al-Alam, it is the preferred source of news.
As long as the viewer has a diversified set of channels, like what a satellite provider offers, controversy cannot be a deciding factor in legitimacy.
The stations will still broadcast; viewers will just have to catch them online.
Nick Bell is a media production senior and may be reached at [email protected]