The supervising board of state TV has criticized the network for biased reporting of the Iraqi crisis in favor of the Iraqi regime, cautioning that this could threaten Iran's interests, IRNA reported from Tehran.
The Persian-language daily `Abrar' on Tuesday quoted Nasser Qavami, a member of the Board to Supervise the Performance of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), as saying that the supervisors in a meeting on Monday had unanimously agreed that the IRIB was slanted in its reporting of the Iraqi crisis.
Qavami said the board had thus decided to ask the IRIB and the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) to report whether they had a particular guideline on how to cover the developments of the war.
He also said the board had asked the SNSC to notify the IRIB of its guidelines through secret procedures.
IRIB's mode of reporting the Iraqi crisis had already provoked the ire of the parliamentarians on Sunday when several of them voiced concern that the state TV, only answerable to the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, was defying Iran's positions of neutrality toward the crisis.
Professsionalism, accuracy prerequisites to news reporting: daily
`Iran News' on Tuesday highlighted professionalism and accuracy as indispensable requirements in news dissemination.
Unfortunately, the most pominent aspect of the current 20-day-old US-led military aggression against Iraq has by far been the "propaganda, disinformation and misinformation campaigns" waged by the media of both warring parties, the English-language daily regretted in its editorial.
It is a fact that there has been intense competition between the media of both warring parties which is shown in their reporters' biased war reports in violation of the elementary principles of real journalism.
Iranian news coverage of the war, the daily noted, is heviliy influenced by its experience in the eight-year Iraqi-imposed conflict in the 1980's.
Undoubtedly, the domestic media accepts the view of prominent leaders and political figures that the war is "illegal" as it was launched without the required votes that would authorize a war as provided by the UN Charter.
Adding insult to injury, there is a great deal of confusion in the reporting and analysis of events in the war, the article pointed out.
For instance, "some dailies have front-page headlines favoring the Saddam regime and against the US-UK coalition while simultaneously publishing pictures of martyred Iranians in the hands of the Baathist regime during the Iran-Iraq war," explained the paper.
Regrettably, the national radio and television, the IRIB, has been severely criticized for what the paper called its "slanted reporting" of the conflict.
"The criticism of the IRIB is not limited to the analysts or the public at large but extends to the academia as well as the reformist- dominated Majlis," the article highlighted, noting that the 24-hour News Channel program of the IRIB has received the harshest of all criticisms.
The editorial believes the IRIB's military analysis of the war is not supported by the ground realities, but said its assessment that the war was launched in violation of international law and, therefore, has no legitimacy has merit.
Discrepancies in the IRIB's war reporting and those of the international media is easily identifiable by even a novice news watcher, it went on to say.
It said fair and truthful reporting is the essense of real news reporting.
While national interests must be defended when reporting news events, particularly international news, false and slanted news reporting and news analysis based on undocumented reports are a disservice to the public, the editorial pointed out.
It must be noted that neutrality in the current war is the official stand of the Islamic Republic, the daily highlighted.
The IRIB claims that 75 percent of Iranians get their news exclusively from the state-run radio and televison, but what the IRIB has failed to consider is that "exclusivity does not translate into confidence in accuracy," the paper pointed out.
The IRIB must not forget that the people can access news through a wide variety of sources due to the advancements in global information technology which has drastically reduced the size of the world in terms of global communications, the daily reminded.
A national news organization may be able to build up viewer confidence and trust in a relatively short period of time, the daily said, but IRIB officials ought to be reminded that they can also lose the same in the "twinkle of an eye," concluded the editorial.
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