Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Iran launches Press TV, an English channel

First of all, I have to concede the name seems very original! Couldn't the Iranian government think of a better name? Well, at least it attempts to build bridges between the press and broadcast media.... Jokes apart, what is it that Press TV will now offer us that Al-Jazeera or France 24 already doesn't?

For one, you can surely expect a non-Arab and pro-Shia perspective that Al-Jazeera necessarily doesn't offer. Mohammad Sarafraz, vice-president of Iran's state broadcaster said Press TV would offer an unbiased view, unlike al-Jazeera, which he said had supported the Taleban and the regime of Saddam Hussein. Programmes sympathetic to Moqtada al Sadr, therefore, should not come as a surprise. There are also plans for a programme called Children of War, which will examine the effects of war on children in Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon (all of which are countries with dominant Shia populations). A propaganda television channel has become a necessity for the Iranian government as it seeks to assert itself in the region. Not surprisingly, the headline on Press TV, as I write, reads: "Iran rejects US 'ridiculous claims'".

Meanwhile, one wonders whatever happened to Channel Asia, India's CNN/BBC that was supposed to portray India internationally? All we are still left with is the decaying Doordarshan and its decrepit radio counterpart, AIR.


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