Amid ongoing crisis in Iran ‘reformist’ commentator Abbas Abdi has said in an interview that what Iran's state-run television broadcasts is sheer propaganda."
Those who are looking for news in Iran will not turn to the state TV, Abdi argued.
Ironically, when hackers interrupted the state TV news program October 8, playing a short clip, most Iranians found out about it through social media reports or on foreign-based satellite TV rather than watching the actual program on the state TV.
Meanwhile, former Vice President Mostafa Hashemi Taba has argued in another interview that the state TV, also known as the Islamic Republic of Iran's Broadcasting organization (IRIB) excels in keeping Iranians uninformed about developments. He added that Iranians no longer trust the state television and the officials who appear on TV.
"When the television broadcasts what only a tiny segment of the population believes, others will inevitably turn their TV sets off and turn their backs to it."
Meanwhile, former IRIB Chief Mohammad Hashemi also criticized IRIB for airing the news only after they have been broadcast on foreign-based satellite channels. Nonetheless, he praised the state TV for countering lies and rumors, without citing an example.
According to Didban Iran [Iran Monitor] website in Tehran, the activity of IRIB's deputy chief for political affairs, which is in charge of news has been reduced to responding to information programs that foreign-based Persian media broadcast about Iranian developments.
'Reformist' commentator, Abbas Abdi
IRIB is directly controlled by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s office, especially its news and political programming.
The state broadcaster usually repeats what has already been aired during previous hours and sometimes days, adding a spin to please the organization's management and its supreme chief, Khamenei.
During the three weeks since the start of antigovernment protests in Iran, IRIB's most eye-catching output was showing the half-naked image of an Iranian protester abroad, for which the organization was forced to apologize later. It was meant to help the regime’s cause by discrediting protesters, but it touched a raw religious nerve among some insiders.
IRIB’s penchant for one-sided news has deeply annoyed viewers who currently get their news from social media and Persian-speaking satellite TV channels based in Europe and the United States. The viewers no longer trust the media that belongs to and echoes the voice of a government they have ceased to trust for the same reason: Unilateralism, justifying and beatifying the government's often wrong measures and its police brutality in the streets.
IRIB Chief Payman Jebelli has described the organization as "the regime's media outlet," an expression that was also used later by former President Hassan Rouhani. The same thing was said even more elaborately by the chairman of the state TV office in Khorasan Province Mohsen Nasrpour who stated, "the state TV is the mouthpiece of the government and the regime."
This was most recently reiterated by Hashem Hosseini Bushehri, a senior cleric, during a meeting with Jebelli on October 8. According to the Qom Seminary's official website, Bushehri said: "IRIB is the official podium for the Islamic Republic regime."
The people who have been chanting slogans in the streets of almost all major Iranian cities during the past three weeks, saying that they no longer want the Islamic Republic, are not likely to be interested in the same regime's mouthpiece. Following the hacking on Saturday, an Iranian Twitter user commented: "Thank you. Next time, please unplug the entire state television."