Those who are familiar with the programming on IRIB, the Islamic Republic of Iran’s state broadcasting network, know that for the past three decades only censored or closely monitored programs have been aired on the network’s many TV and radio channels. Each program, each series, each interview, and even every cartoon or children’s program is carefully planned to pitch state -selected news, pre-planned and targeted analysis, and ideological propaganda to IRIB’s audiences. The state’s monopoly over radio and television programming is only challenged by satellite television programming, which is routinely disrupted by Iranian government’s efforts to jam the satellite signals.
The Iranian government spends millions of dollars annually on this monopoly and on censorship in order to ensure that its narrative of news and world events is the only one that reaches the Iranian nation. It is, therefore, an expected occurrence to see people who are interviewed on the street repeat the government’s narrative, or to see university professors and “experts” deliver “analysis” that is consistent with slogans offered by government officials.
It was, therefore, a thrilling surprise for those who were able to catch an interesting departure from the routine this week, when Fazl-ur-Rahman Oria, an Afghani analyst, spoke his mind against the Iranian and Pakistani governments’ interference into Afghanistan’s affairs, causing its instability. “Iran has not had friendly relations with any of its neighbors,” he told the news anchor who had tried unsuccessfully to steer him away from this topic. “Iran is the only country in the world that is in a state of complete isolation and faces a deep crisis,” added Oria, just before he was unceremoniously cut off and moved off the air.
A video clip of this interview has so far received close to 700 votes and near 300 comments from Balatarin users. Let’s take a look at some of the reactions from our users:
naamvar said: “He embarrassed the IRIB News Network in the best way possible! ‘I don’t agree with you,’ the news anchor says shamelessly. Dude, you are not there to express your own opinion!! You are there to ask questions! That guy’s opinions about the Islamic Republic were 100% on the mark. They had to cut it off in the end. It shows clearly what a professional and objective network they are!”
zabanesabz said: “What kind of regime is threatened with just one interview? See the Supreme Leader of Muslims Worldwide [Ali Khamenei] who is overthrown with just one interview! See their international management in this video! Watch the export of the Islamic Revolution!”
mohsen110 said: “The stupid anchor says: ‘Of course, this is your opinion.’ Someone should tell him ‘Dude, an analyst must express his own opinion, not the opinion you dictate!’”
argument questioned the patriotism of people cheering the analyst, saying: “Nowhere else would you see a group embracing a country at war with their own country. It is impossible to find any websites or blogs whose users would be so happy to cheer on a foreign analyst who is insulting their country like this. For example, on this thread, only Green [Movement] and MEK supporters are dancing with joy…” and strong responded by questioning the first poster’s loyalty to the Iranian government, “…a government that has committed every savagery and violence on its people…a government that has murdered Iran’s youth under torture and rape inside its prisons, and hits its old men and women with sticks on the streets. [A government that] responds to the legitimate objections to its incompetence which led to Lake Orumiyeh’s drying by beating and arresting people. A government that has destroyed the country’s economy and has taken all its resources under the claws of a few smelly, deadbeat, and illiterate IRGC commanders. A government that is helping Bashar Assad to kill more Syrian children en masse everyday. A government that has equaled the name of Iran and Iranians with terrorism, shaming Iranians. If I want to say it all, it would make several book volumes…”
Finally, faryad 22 said what many users on that thread repeated: “He spoke from the hearts of the Iranian people.”