By Kayhan Lile Staff
Some 500 people have signed a petition criticizing Germany’s public-service broadcaster (ARD) and West German Broadcasting Cologne (WDR) for not giving sufficient coverage to recent widespread protests over water shortage and power cuts in Iran’s southwestern province of Khuzestan.
In the letter, the campaign’s founder, Dr. Navid Fazel — a medical doctor and researcher — urged ARD’s chairperson, Tom Buhrow, and WDR’s director Thomas Bellut, to step up their reporting of the protest in Khuzestan and highlight problems facing Iranian people.
“As immigrants who have witnessed tight control and censorship of the media, we appreciate the free and impartial dissemination of information,” the letter said.
Campaigners expressed their disappointment at German media failing in their duty to report the news in an accurate and balanced manner. They added, however, that they were confident the news outlets upheld a high standard of ethical and professional conduct in their reporting and did not put any political and ideological spin on the events.
“Despite the hostility of the right-wing media, we have not stopped our support of public radio and television. We have increased our support for them, in fact,” the letter said. “It is exactly at such times that citizens must voice their support for democracy.”
Noting German state media’s failure to report on the protests in Khuzestan, the signatories to the letter asked if the neglect was unintentional or if the TV stations used “lack of public interest” as an excuse for not covering the protests so that they could remain competitive with other news outlets.
In the letter, the campaigners also criticized German public broadcasters ARD and WDR for not covering the nationwide protests in Iran for the past few years.
“There is a glaring absence of coverage in your news programs regarding the water shortage, widespread protests, and the regime’s violent crackdown on people in Iran,” the letter noted. “We have seen this trend in your coverage of the current events and also the November 2019 unrest which, according to Amnesty International’s conservative estimates, resulted in 1,500 deaths.”
The letter pointed out that while German media have reported extensively on the protests in Belarus and Cuba, they have not covered the struggles of the Iranian people.
The letter ended with the signatories urging German TV channels to meet their viewers’ expectations with unbiased and uncensored reporting, devoid of political and ideological considerations. They called on the German media to highlight the plight and struggles of the Iranian people.