WikiLeaks: Iranian reformist says VOA Farsi TV too negative
December 15th, 2010 - 11:38 UTC
by Andy Sennitt.

A reformist member of the Majles [the Iranian Parliament], speaking to the US Government’s Iran Regional Presence Office in Dubai in 2007, advised reducing what he called the negative tone of the Voice of America’s Farsi TV broadcasts.

The MP believed that the underlying theme of VOA broadcasts was regime change for Iran in all but name, which he said undermines US Government claims that its policy towards Iran is changed behaviour, not regime change. He argued that predominantly negative coverage of Iran is counter-productive, alienating viewers. In order to educate the people and work toward the goal of democracy promotion in Iran, he recommended that the VOA report facts and objective information, with the goal of creating a better-informed Iranian public.

The Iran Regional Presence Office commented: “Although the MP did not specifically mention the recently aired [in 2007] VOA interview with Abdul-Malek Rigi, the leader of the violent Baluchi separatist group Jundallah with his criticisms of VOA programming, that interview in particular was widely condemned in Iran. Jundallah claimed responsibility for February terrorist attacks in Iran’s southeastern Sistan-va-Baluchestan province that killed 11 and injured 31. The Foreign Ministry spokesman released a statement about the Rigi interview, saying “the aforementioned terrorist is under prosecution for drug smuggling, kidnapping, murder, and injuring some of our compatriots, so what VOA has done is in direction of double standards of the US government in fighting against terrorism.”