Worldfocus producer Mohammad Al-Kassim blogs about Friday’s revelations on Iran.
The news that Iran was building a “semi-industrial enrichment fuel facility” dominated the international headlines today. Here is how the news was covered in some Middle Eastern media outlets.
Iran’s Press TV, a government-funded news channel, broke into its regularly scheduled programming to feature the press conference held by U.S. President Barack Obama, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
The 24-hour channel, which is based in Tehran and broadcasts in English, targets viewers outside Iran.
As she was talking to a correspondent in Vienna, Press TV anchor Nargess Moballeghi noted British PM Gordon Brown’s comment that “the most urgent challenge in the world we face today is Iran.” Ms. Moballeghi told her colleague that this statement was completely opposite a statement made by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon who said that it was “climate change.”
On Alalam Web site, a government-funded 24-hour news channel airing in Arabic from Tehran, the top story was same as its sister channel, Press TV. The news article on Alalam was short, quoting Iran’s top nuclear program official who said there is nothing secret about Iran’s nuclear site and that the IAEA is aware of its existence, adding that Iran has the right to have a peaceful nuclear program.
On Al Arabiya, the all-news channel based in Dubai, the news of Iran’s secret nuclear sites overshadowed the rest of the day’s news. Al Arabiya has been very critical in its coverage of Iran’s presidential election.
In general, the channel — which is funded by Saudi money — is critical of Iran’s influence in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia feels that Iran is treading on its territory as the natural leader in the Muslim world.
Al Jazeera Arabic also joined in the coverage of the breaking news with the press conference from Pittsburg, PA. The headline of the story on its Web site read, “World powers pressure Iran,” and the story reported the views of both sides, adding the position of Russia and China. The news article also quoted the Iranian student’s news agency for Iran’s official statement.
Al Jazeera is funded by the government of Qatar and is generally viewed by the Iranian government as relatively biased against Iran.
People in the West assume that because Iran is a Muslim country, it must be friends with many counties in the region. On the contrary, Iran’s neighbors are equally opposed to it obtaining a nuclear program and weapons as the West is. The so-called moderate Arab states –Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan — are quietly calling to disarm Iran nuclear program. Watching these media outlets, one cannot help but notice that the coverage is a reflection of this position.
– Mohammad Al-Kassim