The European Court of Justice has rejected the appeal filed by Mohammad Sarafraz, the head of the IRIB (Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting) and Hamid Reza Emadi, the senior editor of Press TV (English), which sought to remove them from the list of EU sanctions. Both men were included on the list for their violation of human rights. According to the court, both men were responsible for serious human rights violations by broadcasting the forced confessions of political prisoners and, as such, are not permitted to enter EU countries. Additionally, the Court declared that their property and assets will remain frozen.
The EU’s decision to boycott these two managers is widely thought to be due to the work of the London based organization Justice for Iran, which has collected first-hand reports and accounts of the IRIB’s unlawful practices.
In a statement released regarding the Court’s decision, Justice of Iran noted: ‘This is the first time that the European Court of Justice has issued a decision on the Islamic Republic of Iran’s heinous human rights record.’
After the initial EU declaration of sanctions against Press TV-head Sarafraz and Emadi, the EU accused the two of collaborating with Iranian intelligence in their broadcasting of the forced confessions of detained journalists, political activists and minority ethnic rights activists such as Ahwazi Arab campaigners.
The sanctions include a travel ban, as well as freezing their assets in every European country. Ofcom, the independent regulator for the UK communication industries, decided to revoke the license issued for Press TV with immediate effect.
In 2013, the Europe Union had declared of placing Mohammad Sarafraz, who, at the time was head of Press TV, along with Hamid Reza Emadi, because of their involvement in the broadcasting “confessions” of detained political activists and journalists. In 2011, Ofcom found that Press TV had violated broadcasting standards and ethics concerning its use of interviews obtained under duress of journalist Maziar Bahari, who was in an Iranian prison at the time. This concluded with Ofcom fining Press TV to the tune of £100,000, which Press TV have yet to pay and which is being pursued by Ofcom through legal channels.
Since 2009, when the Iranian regime seized control of Press TV, it has used the channel to smear Ahwazi activists in all manner of ways, as well as obscuring the crimes being committed by the Iranian regime in Ahwaz. Some Ahwazi families have reported that their detained loved ones have been subject to torture, malnutrition, forced labour and other cruel and unusual punishments before being coerced into confessing in front of the cameras of Press TV.
Many Ahwazi Arab prisoners had to participate in televised forced confessions on Press TV, where they were accused of indiscriminate murder or as accessories to murder. Without doubt, the primary goal of the collaboration of the Iranian intelligence services and Press TV is to convince the world that Ahwazi Arab activists are all terrorists. Iran’s media propaganda campaign against aims to present a distorted vision of the Ahwazi cause internationally.
Press TV, working with the Iranian judicial system, has repeatedly and shamefully broadcasted distorted images of Ahwazi detainees in an attempt to convince viewers that Ahwazi activists are complicit in terrorist activities and thus the state has the right to oppress and execute them. This has accompanied several executions of Ahwazi activists from 2005 until today.
Although the regime, like the Shah’s dynasty before it, has been unsuccessful in its relentless and cruel efforts to end Ahwazi demands for freedom and human rights, despite using tactics including expulsion, execution and relentless persecution, it has invested billions in Press TV in its efforts to present a false image to the world of the Ahwazi people as ‘terrorists’ and ‘foreign agents’, even while continuing its systematic savagery against the Ahwazi people.
The Iranian regime uses such strategies through its media in a bid for manufacturing a false and deeply racist narrative to the world that dehumanises and demonises Ahwazi Arab people seeking freedom and human rights as terrorists, denies their voice and rights, and presents the regime as the rightful occupier of Al-Ahwaz Arabs’ land.
Source: Rahim Hamid