Sam GhandchiIs VOA pro Islamic Republic?

Sam Ghandchi

Related Topic Jan 8, 2017:

Obama's Failure with Iranian People

On January 6, 2013, Wall Street Journal published an article entitled "At Voice of America, Complaints About Its Iranian Coverage," with a subtitle of "A Persian-language service is accused of tailoring its programs to avoid offending the regime. The VOA denies it" (1).  And VOA management has responded to the article (2). In the past, similar accusations were made against VOA by Mr. Kenneth Timmerman (3). Ever since the executive editor .. at VOA started, Mr. Timmerman's accusations against VOA as a whole have stopped, but particular programs of VOA-Persian are still being targeted as pro Islamic Republic by other authors.


Is there any truth to these accusations against VOA?


The truth of the matter is that some senior managers at VOA, to present themselves as unbiased, try to position VOA reporters, anchors and editors as if they have no political partisanship.  In a society like the U.S., where the overwhelming majority of ordinary citizens choose the Democratic or Republican Party affiliations, how can one expect a politically informed individual like a reporter and even editors and managers of a news agency to have no political preferences? This is different from being unbiased in one's reporting.  In fact, to be unbiased in reporting is best achieved when the audience is aware of the political inclinations of the reporter. The false notion of being unbiased is the reason for all the misunderstandings and subsequent allegations against VOA in the press.


If editors show themselves as having no political affiliation but subtly remove news articles when they think the implications of the news may offend some pressure groups, that is not honest reporting. Such misunderstanding of unbiased reporting has the worst impact on the news coverage of areas like Iran where contentious political and ideological groups exist.


The incorrect notion of unbiased reporting has led to the hiring of .. and his deputies at VOA. A good example of selective reporting is the new executive editor's own report of first decade of the 21st Century created for BBC; i.e. when he gets to the year 2009, he "forgets" to mention Iran's Green Movement. Please watch his report and judge for yourself (4).


I have written about my own experiences at VOA (5). Frankly when dealing with countries like Iran, the informed reporters definitely have political preferences and it is best that editors and managers of VOA publish their own political views in many fine Iranian political web sites that are available today. This way their audience can see the depth of their knowledge or lack thereof and judge them accordingly. Not only will such transparency make VOA production more unbiased, but this is the only way to be truthful to the VOA audience. In other words, those who obviously lean towards specific political lines, whether in VOA management or editorial roles, would no longer subtly push their preferences as if they have no political affiliations.

Sam Ghandchi, Editor/Publisher


January 26, 2013








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