IRIB Obliged to Boost Public Confidence

IRIB Obliged to Boost Public ConfidenceIRIB Obliged to Boost Public Confidence

President Hassan Rouhani said the primary responsibility of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting is to help boost confidence and accord between the people and the establishment.

"IRIB's heavy responsibility is to foster trust and enhance people's ties with the ruling system," Rouhani was quoted as saying by IRNA in a Saturday meeting with the newly appointed director of the state broadcaster, Abdolali Ali-Askari.

Ali-Askari's appointment was announced earlier this month in a decree by the Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei who accepted the resignation of former IRIB head, Mohammad Sarafraz.   

Rouhani vowed that his government would recognize "the operational and professional independence of IRIB", but invoked Article 175 of Iran's Constitution calling for strict supervision over its work by the three branches of government.

"Offering constructive criticism is an appropriate, inherent duty of the public media, including IRIB. But what is inappropriate is mounting smear campaigns, hurling insults and spreading false accusations and rumors," he said.

***Need to Maintain Impartiality

Any leaning in IRIB toward a particular faction is unacceptable, as it violates the principle of impartiality, the president said.

Rouhani championed last July's nuclear deal with major powers that went into force in January to give Iran sanctions relief in return for rolling back its nuclear program.

During Sarafraz's tenure, Rouhani criticized IRIB on several occasions for lacking independence and allowing the conservative opponents of the nuclear accord with major powers to use it as an exclusive platform to reinforce their anti-western agenda by spreading propaganda against the government.

The critics claim the accord, formally called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, conceded too much to the western states.

They also fear the opening of the economy to businesses abroad after the removal of sanctions could be exploited by hostile western states to make inroads into the country.

"I must tell those people who think and claim that the action plan has proved to be useless that from political and legal perspectives, it is a source of honor for the nation." Rouhani said last month.

***Propaganda Campaigns

"It is okay to criticize the government and it is even sometimes necessary. But the Iranian nation never approves the propaganda campaigns spread [against the government] by the media … They are beneath the dignity of the great Iranian nation," he said.

"I can't help but wonder how some are trying to reinforce the idea that it is the US that won [in the negotiations] and not the Iranian nation … that the Zionists, rather than the Iranian diplomats, were victorious. Where are your patriotism and religious pride?"

Rouhani noted that the deal was a collective decision by the ruling system involving top authorities, calling on critics to drop unconstructive criticisms and help reap its benefits.

"Any criticism against the JCPOA should have been expressed before its announcement. Today is the time for the implementation of JCPOA, which has been approved by every [relevant authority,] including the Leader of the Islamic Revolution and the Supreme National Security Council."

The row between conservatives and moderate Rouhani and his allies escalated due to IRIB's performance during the February 26 parliamentary election campaigns.

Candidates on a joint list published by a pro-government moderate-reformist coalition for the Tehran constituency were accused of links with hostile western governments, especially Britain, in a program on state TV. The government strongly condemned the move by the rival camp.

Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the head of Expediency Council and Rouhani's close ally, said, "The people are aware and do not fall for hypocritical attacks and smear campaigns … Thanks to widespread public access to information and news, people have become aware that some comments not only violate ethics but are made out of sheer passion for power and posts."

The coalition came out victorious in the polls and all the hopefuls on its list for Tehran made it to the 290-member parliament.