Roshan Muhammed Salih is “Head of News” for Press TV in London.
He has published an article titled “Why I work at Iran’s Press TV”.
Here are some excerpts:
In a nutshell, I work at Press TV because it broadcasts the truth about what is happening in the world, and fills a void that the mainstream media has left wide open. Press TV is willing to give a platform to legitimate actors who the western media will not touch, such as Hamas, Hezbollah and anti-occupation forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.
I can think of many ways to describe Hamas, Hezbollah and “anti-occupation forces” in Iraq and Afghanistan. Terrorists is the term I prefer. Mr Salih opts for “legitimate actors”. Who must be given a platform in the name of truth-seeking.
Yes, who would know anything at all about terrorists without the valiant services of Press TV? What would we do without the wisdom of Press TV presenter Yvonne Ridley, for example?
It is simply not fair to characterize Press TV as a mouthpiece for the Iranian government. It is true that we are state-funded (like France 24/ Aljazeera, Russia Today and the BBC World Service) but that does not mean we slavishly follow the Iranian government line. Our international staff is comprised of a huge variety of worldviews and nationalities. And we fully realize that in a modern media environment where viewers have access to a plethora of information, state propaganda is a thing of the past.
Hmm. Perhaps the Holocaust denial work of Nicholas Kollerstrom, still available on the Press TV web site, is a subtle stroke of dissident genius, hitting the regime where it hurts.
And maybe this report on the murder of Neda Aqa-Soltan, as it appeared in toto on the Press TV website, was actually a call to criticise the regime.
Ahmadinejad orders probe into Neda’s ’suspicious’ death
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has asked the Judiciary chief to conduct a through investigation into the death of Neda Aqa-Soltan, an Iranian woman who was shot dead in Tehran’s post-vote protests.
In a letter to Iran’s Judiciary chief Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi-Shahroudi on Monday, Ahmadinejad called for a serious probe into the “suspicious” death of Neda and recognizing elements behind her killing.
“Neda Aqa-Soltan was shot dead in one of Tehran’s streets on June 20 by unknown elements in a completely suspicious way,” said the president.
“Amid vast propaganda by foreign media and many other evidence about the heartfelt event, it seems definite that opponents of the Iranian nation interfere (in Iran’s internal affairs) for their political misuse,” he added.
Neda, 26, became a symbol of post-election street rallies in Iran and an international icon in recent days after graphic videos of her death grabbed the attention of world media outlets.
Her death first became suspicious after revelations that she was killed by a small caliber pistol — a weapon that is not used by Iranian security forces.
Back to Salih:
Now let me turn to the Islamic Republic of Iran, from which Press TV gets its funding. let me be clear: I believe It is a fundamentally decent government run by a fundamentally decent man.
The Iranian government supports Islam, it supports resistance movements in the Islamic world and it opposes western interference in the region. It is also a government which doesn’t go around invading sovereign nations, killing their people and occupying their countries.
Many feel that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a corruption-free man of the people who speaks truth to power. They like the fact that he looks un-presidential, that he spends most of his time with the poor and powerless rather-than hob-nobbing with the rich and powerful. These are subjective views and I must stress that many of my colleagues at Press TV will disagree – this is the kind of diverse environment I work in.
I do not agree, however, with everything the Iranian government does. For example, I support the right to peaceful protest and the right of journalists to report freely. Despite this, I fully understand why the authorities have banned street demonstrations which have given fuel to a viscous anti-Iran Campaign.
Here is a brief report Salih made for Press TV on antisemitism in the UK. Note what he says at the end of the video:
But despite the fact that many British Jewish voices denounce the Gaza war, most Jews in the UK seem to wholeheartedly support Israel. And as long as they continue to do that, antisemitic incidents may well continue to rise.
This is a variant of “change your foreign policy or be bombed” rhetoric, which Salih has employed against the BBC:
The bombs in London aren’t going to stop if HT is banned or if Muslims denounce extremism. But they might if the British stop invading Muslim countries and stop supporting Muslim dictatorships. Why don’t you surprise us with a programme about a westernised Muslim who saw the error of his ways and became a non-violent Islamist, campaigning against the injustices perpetrated by Britain in the Muslim world. That person would be far easier to find than the unrepresentative likes of Shiraz Maher or Maajid Nawaz et al.
I think Mr Salih has indeed found the right employer.