Tuesday, September 19, 2006
The Side of Iran That the Regime FEARS
RNW Supports Iranian Radio Broadcasts
by Nicolien den Boer
"In a short period of time, two media-outlets for Iranians have been set up in the Netherlands. And more will follow, all financed by the Dutch government. The most recent development is Radio Zamaneh, broadcasting from Amsterdam and aimed at young Iranians. Zamaneh is independent and won't shy away from debating subjects like sexuality, women's rights and restrictions on clothing.
"Iranian youth is hungry for information. They want more than just being 'injected' with biased information from state media," said Pantea Modiri of Radio Zamaneh. According to Modiri, young people are interested in what is really going on within Iran and in the rest of the world. "They crave stories about tolerance, human rights and politics."Young Iranians
Some 70 percent of Iranians are under the age of 28, according to figures from the NGO, Press Now which coordinates Radio Zamaneh, but the young don't have their own media. Most journalists in Iran are of the older generation. The team at Radio Zamaneh is made up of between twelve and 15 young journalists working in either Amsterdam or Iran. A few of them are bloggers who are being trained to become journalists by Press Now - an international organisation supporting independent media in regions of conflict or transition.
The people from Radio Zamaneh - which means 'now' in Farsi - are convinced that they can reach every household in Iran with their broadcasts. The station will transmit in Farsi via satellite, shortwave and the internet. "Six million people have access to the internet, 80 percent of the people have a satellite dish and everybody has a radio, "says Modiri.
Radio Zamaneh is broadcasting 24 hours a day on satellite. The core of its current affairs and cultural programme is on shortwave for four hours a day and the rest of the day will be taken up with music that is forbidden in Iran. This means bands from outside of Iran or 'underground' music. Modiri explains: "for six or seven years more underground bands have been playing in Iran. Women, for instance, are not even allowed to sing in front of men. This means that CDs which women perform on are not produced or sold."
OPINION: Iran is far more complicated than the picture the regime tries to portray. There is a substantial sophisticated portion of the population that is interested in the modern western world and the more secular parts of Persian culture. The Dutch government is making a bold move to reach this segment of the Iranian population. It is one of the many ways that the West can help ease Iran away from the clutches of Islamic fundamentalism. The Dutch have come a long way in their thinking since Pim Fortuyn, a populist Dutch politician, had been assassinated and the murder of Theo Van Gogh, a close friend of Fortuyn'’s. The soft power of public opinion undid the Soviet Union. It was done in concert with a big gun cocked and loaded. The Cold War ended because even the Communists stopped believing in Communism. That is not going to happen with Islam.
Will it work? I doubt it.
Will it prevent the development of nuclear weapons? Not likely.
Should we wait and see if there is anyway short of war to change Iran? Well considering the predictable nature of war, FUBAR, the answer is yes. But if it does not work.............Welll it won't. But we need to be patient and let the evil forces of Islam prove to the world that it is beyond redemption.