Most of what you read in the press about Iran is biased favorably toward the Islamic regime, even in publications that are owned by the regime's victims. As part of its media propaganda effort, the regime employs think-tanks, which then scheme to export its agents to work as news reporters and commentators.
The regime even publicly gloats over such things as its own clever spycraft in news media. In one recent example, “Most of the reporters are intelligence agents”, confirmed the former Intelligence Minister under the presidency of Ali Akbar Rafsanjani (1989 to 1997). In the interview, he explained that the agents fronting as press reporters should have “charming coverage” to collect secret information, both internally and abroad. But, “We do not dispatch agents directly,” he pointed out. Iran’s secret agents in the press take the deception tactic of Islamic warfare to a higher new level.
The reporters are obligated to misdirect the public away from the main issues that might show badly upon the Islamic regime. The trained media staff distort the news to mislead viewers and readers.
In a typical example of how a television program will run the propaganda system, it will book two main guests, along with a few buffer personalities to fill out a panel. To start, the trained hosts will open with a bit of “sales talk” to pump up a hot topic for the panel to debate. Then, the host will sideline the buffers from the panel, and center the talk among the two biased guests, who are actually regime agents putting out its propaganda while posing as event analysts. In that way, the program becomes a controlled message delivery system for the regime.
In other cases, the agents troll social media audiences by posing ambiguous questions to generate public feedback on social media networks (Telegram, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram). Then, the pro-regime apologists or supposed reformists in the media will be given the opportunity to spin the results to support any predetermined conclusions in favor of the Mullahs.
The media outlets that have become known as regime sympathizers are Persian VOA, Radio Farda, and BBC. They typically propagandize for the Ayatollahs, as we have continuously warned in online hashtag campaigns, such as #ReformBBG, #BanBBCPersian, and #AyatollahBBC.
As one tactic, those media outlets will systematically replay audiences’ phone calls, which had been previously broadcast on the television shows. It’s another way to fool audiences.
In one big deception, “We should define the IRGC against terrorism”, proclaimed the UK-based former IRI minister, Ata'ollah Mohajerani, in English. But in fact, he strongly supported the terrorist IRGC on Persian BBC. He praised IRGC activities in the region after Washington designated it as a foreign terrorist organization. That hideous praise was commended by hardline media in Iran.
The taxpayer-funded media (VOA, Radio Fada, BBC) never took the right stance on #IranProtests between late December 2017 and early 2018, while they have been in favor of the Mullahs.
The U.S.-founded VOAIran was largely concerned with stepping up the Instagram page of the Kardashians, as millions of people were protesting while being stuck in poverty.
in early 2018, VOA News came under human rights watch fire, for its failure to report on the controversy surrounding the medical treatment in Germany of the former head of the Expediency Discernment Council, Ayatollah Shahroudi. The media outlet called him ‘moderate’. But that hardliner cleric was in fact one of the students of Ayatollah Khomeini.
During Hassan Rouhani’s presidential campaigns (2013 and 2017), the overwhelming majority of reporters came out to support him. They propagandized in his favor, even though Rouhani was part of the Khomeinist regime. They even wore dress accessory sets (ties, pocket squares, etc.) in violet (Rouhani’s campaign color), which helped him become the selected-President, take power and start his violent oppression of people of Iran.
Both the president and his cabinet, including the regime’s liar-in-chief, Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, have verbally attacked the U.S., the European Union, and the Israeli state.
The regime’s exported reporter agents played key roles in spinning the news cycle propaganda message, while the world powers were in the midst of negotiations around the Iran Nuclear Deal. As dissidents, whatever we had done to clarify the problem went down the drain. The deal re-energized the weakened regime. That betrayal should never be forgotten.
This media spin also effects coverage of the news of political prisoners. It is a bigger problem than you imagine. The pro-regime-change prisoners are being oppressed by both the terrorist-repressive regime and by its exported reporters (agents). Several of the so-called reporters (the exported ones) even claimed that the well-known political prisoner, Arash Sadeghi, was on vacation in Antalya, Turkey; while in fact, the brave, imprisoned activist was being brutally interrogated and tortured in the IRGC dungeon. Now, the regime’s propagandist reporters are being touted as analysts or columnist in the media.
Kambiz Hosseini, a producer at US-funded @RadioFarda_ accuses his critics of "fake accounts" working for the regime's "Cyber Army". It’s another way to try to delegitimize the dissidents. Unfortunately, the cowardly tactic has wormed into part of the Iranian opposition, especially those alleged new-fashioned groups.
By Kaveh Taheri (Twitter: @TaheriKaveh), co-founder and chairman of the ICBHR.Com, is a Turkey-based Iranian Human Rights researcher and journalist who has worked exclusively on Middle East. Kaveh, who was a former political prisoner in Shiraz, had been sent to prison for his writings and statements on his Websites and Weblogs, in Iran and fled the country through Turkey to save his life.