Wikileaks: Former Austrian Ambassador suggested Euronews in Farsi
December 2nd, 2010 - 13:06 UTC
by Andy Sennitt.

The recent introduction of a Farsi-language service of Euronews was first suggested by the former Austrian Ambassador to Iran, Michael Postl, when he debriefed US officials in Vienna on his final calls on Iranian officials as he left post in December 2009:

“Postl reiterated his message that Iranian citizens see the Voice of America (VOA) as biased and asked that we not underestimate their frustration. If they see a pervasive media outlet as biased, this presents the US in a negative light and works against US messaging. He said that Iranians currently are faced with two biased choices: VOA and Iranian Broadcasting (IRIB).

“In response to a MsnOff question about how BBC Persian is perceived, he noted that it is seen as more neutral, but has the stigma of being associated with the UK. Postl floated the idea of US support to Euronews to start broadcasting in Farsi. He also suggested that doing Hardtalk in Persian might be one of the best outlets for US arguments since the format of pitting opposing viewpoints against one another would counteract the perception of bias, but suggested that if our arguments to the Iranian people are not convincing, this quickly would become clear.

“Finally, Postl noted that the US should not shy away from interviews with Iranian media outlets, suggesting Press TV because it is in English and it is watched in Tehran. A program built around broadcasting the differing opinions of the US, India (because its opinion is well-respected given its influence as a leader in the Nonaligned Movement), and Iran might be a useful way to get our messages across while counteracting perceptions of bias.”