Column: Iran’s Destruction of Satellite Dishes and Launching of Channels

Column: Iran's Destruction of Satellite Dishes and Launching of Channels

The least that can be said about the Iran’s authorities destroying 100,000 satellite dishes on the grounds that they breach regulations and threaten moral, cultural and social values is that this act is ridiculous.

It is also evidence of the Iranian regime’s lack of seriousness which some in the west are trying to gloss over.

Iran did this at home while it continues to open and finance Arabic language television channels in our region. In addition to this, it funds newspapers, news websites and agencies and is behind several usernames on Twitter, some of which are unclear and some fake, which aim to sow discord in our region, particularly Saudi Arabia.

The matter does not stop here; in a previous interview with our newspaper, the Bahraini Minister of Information said that there are forty television channels funded by Iran that target Bahrain’s security. It is clear to everyone that Iran is doing this to implant its sectarian influence in the region, and this is clearly evident in Lebanon where it funds newspapers and television channels. Iran has also tried to infiltrate Egypt before.

Therefore, Iran’s destruction of satellite dishes is ridiculous because it knows that half of the battle is fought via the media, but is then irritated by it and fears it. Iran does this whilst continuing to broadcast its poison in the region. It was also irritated by the media saying that the Munich attack was carried out by an Iranian and considers this to be defamation. Meanwhile, the Iranian media adopts all discourse that is offensive to Saudi Arabia, and Sunnis in general! The truth is, and let us be honest with ourselves, that the Arab stance, especially that of the moderate states, is also surprising. Where is our unshakeable media? Where is our influential audio-visual and written media? Where is the media that addresses sensible people, strengthens the positions of friends, counteracts the sceptics and exposes enemies?

Are you talking about a television channel? I am talking to you about the need for television channels. Are you talking about a newspaper? I am talking to you about the need for newspapers and websites! Are you talking about Twitter? Then you’re living in a virtual world. Twitter is just a vessel, and is a trend that will be followed by another. I am talking about means of communication that are credible, informative, provide the opinions of experts, broadcast serious discussions and programs and that produce knowledge. I am talking about a cultural project that will begin with serious centres of studies. We are talking about institutions, not individual efforts.

Saudi TV, for example, is undoubtedly and effortlessly influential at home and abroad. Are prayers from the Two Holy Mosques in Mecca and Medina and official news bulletins that attract high ratings really beneficial? Saudi TV was a theatre of creativity and in spite of all the phases that it has gone through and that the country has experienced, is it still like this now?

If Iran is aware of the seriousness and importance of the media but is experiencing difficulties with it, what we are waiting for? Why are we leaving the arena open to Iranian interference which sees the media only as a medium for its campaigns? We have a truthful message and a real project but why is it that we get lost in interpretations that are mostly from the virtual world?

Tariq Alhomayed – ASHARQ AL-AWSAT