Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Shortwave America Special Focus: Broadcasting For Freedom - The People Of Iran - Part 3

In part one of this series, Shortwave America interviewed Canadian Broadcaster, Shabnam Assadollahi who came back to this publication in part 2 as a guest with her interview of the Senior Economic Advisor to the E.U. 

Shortwave America now brings you part 3 of this special series focusing on communications freedom in Iran, and how it apples to the human rights of those who must live under the rule of an extremist regime. This is a combined interview with two of the three expected guests in this specific portion of the series. 

Speaking now with Shortwave America is Homayoun Mobasseri:

Iranians are peaceful people and among the Muslim countries of middle east Iran has the highest number of university graduates per capita, like most people of the world they want to provide a better life and future for their children, suppression of communication has enabled the regime to carry out their evil doings for example the mass killings of the prisoners of conscious back in Sept. 1988 and to some estimates it is in the range of 30000 to 100, 000 people which they were buried in mass graves that the most famous one is Khavaran and no one knows how many are buried there.

Iranians have been struggling for individual rights for a long time and their first achievement was the first European style constitution of 1905 with the help of some of the religious leaders but soon the repressive religious leaders and Mohammad Shah the king of the time had a coup which was later crushed by the people and constitution was reinstated and ever since it has been a battle between the progressives and regressive forces of the community.

The regime has taken lessons how they used the shortwave radio and flow of information to combat the previous regime and they are fully aware of the power of the media and as they are preachers themselves they know who ever has the access and control of flow of information is the ultimate winner, that is why they want an do control the airwaves by using jamming equipments and we know there are certain wavelengths that they have problems in jamming, but we should not volunteer this info publicly.

Iranian people have listened to propaganda of the regime for the past 31 years and are fed up and tired of one way propaganda that everything that regime is doing is good , holistic and everything opposition no matter how mild or harsh is doing is evil, and at the same time opposition radio and satellite TV stations are saying exactly opposite, and people have lost their trust at both ends, each party is painting the other as evil, So many Iranians are hungry for real life solutions and guidance and I believe here comes the role that short wave stations could play; The main objective of these station should to educate the people of Iran on the significance of human rights in society, to facilitate a better understanding of the interdependence between the responsibilities of citizens toward each other and the freedoms and democratic rights of the individual. 

The programmers should provide regular coverage of those issues which may impact on the entitlements and rights of people in Iranian society, to demonstrate how, in a modern civil society, the human rights of citizens are not conditional upon ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, social class and/or political beliefs. Coverage should include discussions on the ways in which, in other societies, the development of effective institutions designed to protect human rights has impacted on social cohesion, economic development and a stable foreign policy. In the process, the role of the state and the relationship between the state and citizens to be explored.

Iran is a multi - ethnic and multi - religious and beliefs, unfortunately there are no official data and the official figures which are available are heavily distorted, but by looking at the above map one could construct the heavy presence of Sunni Muslims, that are Kurdish, Baluchi, Turkmen and Bandari , etc

Almost about 1/4 ~ 1/3 are non shiites but the current regime likes to impose their will on every body and they think that they have a mandate to convert everyone to their way of thinking which is not shared by the silent majority.Iranian Islamic leadership has no influence on other Muslims by the religion since it is on the minority itself but is trying and has been successful in modeling in Palestinian / Israeli issue by spending money and financing the most radicals, and Hamas people they do not share the same religion but Lebanon Hezbollah and Iraqi Shiites have the same religion, if Iran becomes a free society it would be a beacon of freedom for the entire region.

Now, please welcome to Shortwave America, Dr. Mehrdad Emadi, Senior Economic Adviser to The E.U. in this exclusive interview with Shortwave America on 27 October 2010: 

Mehr, you recently spoke with Shabnam Assadollahi about how sanctions might impact Iran, the Seppah, and opportunities for private sector business to see growth to become independent from the Iranian regime. Part of that growth would be best served if communications for the people were included by way of shortwave radio reception not directed or censored by the government. Do you see this happening? 

"To broaden this sort of explanation that you just gave which is accurate, the more appropriate response would be that the more unsanctioned information we can transmit will increase awareness of the economic situation and crisis, and at the end of the day it will expedite the process of change. Naturally it will also deepen awareness of the unfolding crisis, which by the way is not just instigated by sanctions but also by the economic situation which is corrupt and also corrupting."

What will it take for the growth of communications freedom in Iran to become a reality?

"One is to not be shy about what are the changes which Iran needs to introduce in it's system. to become once again a full member of the international community."

What obstacles are faced between the current reality and the dream of independent democracy for the people under rule of the regime to freely communicate with each other as well as communicate with others outside of Iran?

"I could categorize these: there has to be a significant improvement in the transparency of Iran government. That would help the system to become more accountable. The second one would be to tell the regime that with any rights, like the right to nuclear energy or international banking, there comes responsibilities also. The two are interconnected. If you have access and assistance to energy programs, you also have responsibility to how you are going to use that peacefully. and not weaponize it. The same thing is important about banking, if you are unconnected to international banking you should do the best you can to discourage money laundering activities."

In the face of all of this, do you see the use of government licensed amateur radio stations as a beginning to freedom of communications? 

"I think it will be a very important step towards liberalizing the system and empowering citizen democracy. I do genuinely believe even if we have the occasional lemon ya know, radio station, stations that are not always positive in their contribution. Then the net effect will be the positive one for a democratic society. The effects will be more than compensated by good cases."

How can these licensed private citizens use the radio communications art to build relationships between themselves and everyone else that would have to be part of the building process in this context?

"I think we really need to look at the licensing structure and probably extensive intervention regulations which have given all authority and power to officials, and very little to community level or community based broadcasts. 

This is only my personal view at this point, but I think the rise of corporate ownership in media has been very counterproductive instead of democratization in our society." 

Mehr, it has been great to have you here for Shortwave America. As you know, us Americans are first and foremost about freedom of speech and the freedom to obtain information and communicate between ourselves and the rest of the world. The time you have taken is so very appreciated, and the hope is that this will make it's rounds among the Iranian people in their movement towards freedom. 

Mehr: "It has been a pleasure!"

Dear Readers, this closes the series on communications freedom in Iran with it's in depth look at the differences between the regime who takes from it's people, the everyday culture of the people, and their struggle for the right to enjoy incoming & outgoing communications based on shortwave broadcasting and the use of licensed amateur radio as something of a start towards effecting change.

Special thanks goes to Shabnam Assadollahi, CHIN Radio Canada,  Homayoun Mobasseri, and The Honorbale Mehrdad Emadi - Senior Economic Adviser Of The European Union (E.U.). 

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