Cross-posted from Potkin Azarmehr
I don’t think I ever remember an Iran related news story that was so widely reported in the global media, as the Jamali Fashi’s photoshopped Israeli passport was [see also here], which still didn’t make the news on BBC Persian or VOA Persian; the two most funded Persian news channels outside Iran, not financed by the Islamic Republic.
To explain the main reason for my disappointment, I need to talk about a brief chance meeting I had with a former OTPOR activist, Ivan Marovic, few years ago. As I listened carefully to Ivan’s recollections of how OTPOR grew from a small organisation into a movement that played a major role in bringing democracy to Serbia, there were a number of commonalities that matched his experiences to my own instincts.
One of Ivan’s recollections of how they brought down the dictatorship in Serbia, that relates to this post, was the importance of exposing the bungling incompetence of the Milosevic regime. Ivan was saying if someone wanted to make a documentary about North Korea, it shouldn’t be about the tortures and brutalities and the iron grip of the regime, we already know all that, it should be about how easy it was to bribe the border police and fool the party officials etc. To constantly keep going on about the brutality and the tortures and the imprisonments by the regime will create an atmosphere of fear amongst the general public and will show the state is powerful and in control. What needs showing most is the regime’s ineptitude and its Achilles Heel.
The comical attempt by the Islamic Republic’s intelligence ministry to show how Jamali Fashi was given an Israeli passport by Israel was just the sort of thing Ivan was talking about and it was just the kind of story that needed to be told to the Iranian public but both BBC Persian and VOA Persian failed to report the story.
What could be the reason for such bad judgement shown by their news teams? Is it a personal problem they have with me? Possibly or more probably, as another friend of mine suggested, the overwhelming majority of staff in BBC Persian and VOA Persian are anti-Israeli Leftists who become tunnel visioned as soon as they hear the word Israel. It is a question that can only be answered by VOA Persian and BBC Persian news teams themselves.