General

Iran and the MEK: BBC’s Gunboat Journalism

BBC fake news

BBC’s recent reporting on the Iranian opposition has raised concern among Iranians both inside and outside the country. As BBC has put to action all services, BBC4, the World Service, BBC website, BBC Arabic, BBC Farsi, and heaven knows how many others, questions on the motive for such biased action on the part of a media outlet claiming impartiality rest unanswered.

Motive apart, the BBC’s approach seems odd.

Details of such an approach can be found on the website of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), where a statement by NCRI’s Intelligence and Security committee reveals the nonprofessional method of BBC’s journalists. The statement quotes BBC’s Linda Pressly claiming that the MEK refused to be interviewed for her program. But according to the statement, Ms. Pressly and another BBC colleague were the guests of the MEK at their home, Ashraf-3, for five-and-a-half hours. During the meeting, the MEK representatives told her that she could stay at Ashraf-3 if she wanted, privately talk to anyone and visit anywhere she desired. But MEK representatives were right to tell her not to expect the MEK to be part of a program that was based on a script prepared by Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS). They also told her that they should not be expected to be part of a program that also included individuals whose objective and the mission were collecting intelligence and assisting the Iranian regime to conduct terrorist operations against the MEK.

No one would have criticized German, British, French, and American freedom fighters and patriots for refusing to appear alongside Nazi collaborators. This, the MEK representatives said, was the most basic right of the MEK to protect itself against the ruling religious dictatorship which carries out its operations by agents masking themselves as “former members” or “friendly journalists.” This was exactly the way in which the regime planned its foiled terrorist plot in Albania in March 2018.

In fact, the two journalists had called, only two days prior to their trip to Albania, to pluck an appointment for an interview to accomplish a schedule of their own with no respect for the side to be interviewed, as if the MEK was to accept any demand for interview no matter how late it happened to be made and under whatever conditions imposed.

All this smack of colonialist methods dating back to two centuries ago, when She or His Majesty’s Ships would dictate conditions on third world countries through armed bullying.

Instead of firing live ammunition on the reluctant adversary, as in the 19th century, BBC journalists have chosen to give free airtime to known agents of the MOIS whose names have been brought to their knowledge, as well as that of other journalists who write on Iranian affairs, through public websites accessible by everybody.

Despite same old rusty methods used, important differences are ignored. The MEK, a movement that has to this day presented more than 100,000 martyrs for the ideal of freedom long sought in Iran since 1905, is no Sultan of Zanzibar, nor is the BBC the British fleet of Admiral Rawson!

 

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