Iran prepares for launch of BBC Persian TV - Sudanese protest in Khartoum against Israeli air strikes in Gaza
The Iranian authorities seem a little apprehensive about the launch of BBC Persian TV. This report from BBC Monitoring.Best of British luck chaps. Richard Sambrook is Director of BBC Global News.
"The authorities have made it clear that the service has no official permission to operate in Iran and have warned against cooperation with it. There have been reports of arrests and of Iranian readiness to confront a "soft" information war. The media have also made frequent references to Britain's colonial past and British government funding of the World Service. At the same time, while official and conservative media have made attempts to cast doubt on the BBC's journalistic credibility, some media sources have given a qualified welcome to the new service."
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UPDATE: 15 January 2009 - More on BBC Persian TV from Richard Sambrook's blog Sacred Facts 14 January 2009:
The BBC launches its latest TV channel today - BBC Persian. It will be a daily eight hour service, for audiences in Iran, Afghanistan, and the wider region, broadcasting at peak times for the market. It will run from 17:00 to 01:00 local time in Iran (that’s 13:30 to 21:30 GMT).- - -
The backbone of the schedule will be news, together with a rich mix of current affairs, features and documentaries, culture, science, business and arts programmes - all broadcast in Farsi from a new newsroom in central London. Iran is obviously geopolitically important with significant influence across the Middle East. The BBC has been providing news and information on radio in Persian for six decades. But these days, TV is the preferred news medium for Iranian audiences.
The BBC is well respected by opinion formers within Iran and brand awareness is high – despite Government media restrictions. Media freedom is severely limited - so we hope BBC Persian TV will build a following by providing free and independent news and information - the traditional role of the BBC World Service over the last 75 years - and provide a window for Iranian viewers to the rest of the world in an open and unbiased way.
The Iranian authorities have been a little apprehensive about the launch, describing it as "an illegal channel", refusing us permission to work within Iran and suggesting anyone found working for it will be arrested as a spy. However, we hope once they have seen the service they may recognise the independence and quality of the channel - and hopefully take part in its programmes.
Persian TV is aimed at audiences in Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan – totalling around 100m Persian speakers. The potential audience in Iran is young, highly educated and outward-looking. The projected audience figures for Persian TV are 10m within 3 years – with a total tri-media reach (radio, TV and online) of close to 20m by 2012. The channel will cost £15m a year - funded by the Foreign Office via Grant in Aid.
The launch is much anticipated within the region and is already being discussed on blogs within Iran and beyond. It will be available globally, streamed on the BBC Persian website. Here's a taste of it from You Tube:
15 January 2009:
Persian TV reaction
Great response to the Persian TV launch from Tim Garton Ash in the Guardian and in yesterday's Times editorial.
The reaction in Tehran has been a little more equivocal.
UPDATE: Friday 16 January 2009 - from Sudan Watch BBC's Persian TV times & satellite frequency:
The technical parameters for viewers in Europe, North Africa and the
Middle East are:
Hotbird satellite at 13E orbital position
Frequency:11117 MHz vertical polarization
Symbol rate 27500
Or, on the web:
BBC Persian TV
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SUDANESE COMMENTATOR WARNS OF CONSEQUENCES OF SUDAN'S STAND ALONGSIDE HAMAS
Sudanese international relations expert Dr. Adam Muhammad Ahmed has said that Sudan's standing alongside Hamas sets it in the "axis of evil" together with Iran, Hamas, and Hizbullah.
Ahmed warned that this could make several moderate Arab countries distance themselves from Sudan and remove their support from it, particularly in Sudan's dealings with the International Criminal Court.
Source: Al-Rai Al-'Aam, Sudan, January 13, 2009 via .thememriblog.org 13 January 2009.
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PROTESTS IN KHARTOUM AGAINST ISRAELI AIR STRIKES IN GAZA
Photo: Thousands of Sudanese students and Palestinians living in Sudan demonstrate against the Israeli air strikes in Gaza as they hold a poster of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh outside the U.N. headquarters in Khartoum, Sudan, Monday, Dec. 29, 2008. (AP Photo/Abd Raouf)
Photo: Protesters shout anti-Israel and anti-U.S. slogans during a demonstration in Sudan's capital Khartoum against Israeli strikes on Gaza December 29, 2008. REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallh (SUDAN)
Photo: Sudanese students demonstrate against the Israeli air strikes in Gaza, outside the headquarters of the U.N. office in Khartoum, Sudan, Monday, Dec. 29, 2008, as they hold anti U.S President Gorge W.Bush poster and burn Israeli flags. (AP Photo/Abd Raouf)
Photo: Sudanese protestors set an Israeli flag on fire during a demonstration outside the United Nations offices in Khartoum Tue Dec 30, 2008. World powers are struggling to find ways to press Israel and Hamas to end their conflict despite widespread anger over the mounting toll. (AFP/Ashraf Shazly)
Photo: Sudanese, some carrying mock rockets marked with the name of Hamas and other Palestinian militant groups, demonstrate against the Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip, outside the republican palace in Khartoum, Sudan Thursday, Jan. 8, 2009. (AP Photo/Abd Raouf)
Photo: Sudanese protestors demonstrate against the Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip, outside the republican palace in Khartoum, Sudan Thursday, Jan. 8, 2009. (AP Photo/Abd Raouf)
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IMPORTANT -- UPDATE on Monday 15 June 2009, 19:32 GMT
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Peter Brookes Cartoon from The Times Online 18 June 2009.