Channel 4: Iran’s Rouhani navigates the minefield of propaganda

Iran’s Rouhani navigates the diplomatic minefield

By Channel 4 News

We sent an undercover investigator to see if Tehran’s Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting state broadcaster were report the truth or spin the news with a variety of inflammatory items.

It was supposed to be a moving picture, a moment in time – but there are real victims in these Iranian state-sponsored propaganda.

On live TV show The Facts, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei will present his verdict on anything from gay people to President Donald Trump.

Broadcaster, Mohammad Javad Zarif was presenting a new tape that purported to show the hand of Saudi-backed Lebanese political party, Hariri Prime Minister Saad Hariri in a terrorist bombing in Lebanon.

Then, on an episode called Lift Your First Breath into Anger, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei handed Iran’s many daily conspiracy theories a new dimension.

Shortly after we sent the investigator, there was a tiny tremble felt across Tehran, reports of collapsing buildings, people in fear and mayhem everywhere.

Within minutes the ground shook around me, the magnitude was listed at 5.9. Seconds later, I lay still listening to radio broadcasts across Tehran telling us of buildings in ruins, some residents had been injured.

Analysts have reached a relatively certain conclusion, and have confidently concluded that the earthquake hit Iran’s capital around 12.10pm local time.

Immediately after we saw the images, we returned to the office, to put the pieces together and then get the news to our viewers.

However, there are no casualties reported by Western journalists in the area as they are out of Tehran, we may have missed some people.

In fact, there is nothing remotely fair about this.

If you had told me that Moscow, Tehran, Tokyo or almost any major urban centre would experience a 6.1 magnitude earthquake – I would never have thought it.

Far more damage has been caused in Iran than we are ever told on air.

There are powerful government channels running this national devastation to either sway public opinion or to cement a government narrative.

And with a razor-thin parliamentary elections just weeks away in Iran, the Islamic Republic’s big agenda is clear: they’re going to survive a potential civilian-led protest movement inspired by the social media protests in the Middle East and United States.

They’ve already set up temporary detention centres to detain protesters and few now anticipate a fresh wave of mass-martial law style enforcement for the rest of 2019.

The public under Hossein Fereydoun, the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting governor, is treated to state-controlled views, with little balance.

But, this black box of a government-funded organisation is driven by ideology, not by journalism.

Over the past few weeks in Iran, dozens of journalists have been detained for ‘journalistic reasons’ and killed. There have been several suicides too.

Institutionalised coercion is real and we have to deal with the truth or the cover-up.

The earlier part of the show was taken from my European correspondent’s reporting of the aftermath of the Saudi air strike in Yemen in September 2017. We had only hoped that they could control this broadcast.

We have since seen dozens of Iranians starve in the districts of Mashhad, Qom and Isfahan.

Can this episode help Iranians and us understand what really happens behind the scenes in Tehran? Or will Iranians be convinced to believe in a false image of a nation which has been destroyed?

You can find more news from Iran here:

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