As the regime in Tehran becomes more unpopular, so will be its propaganda machines including IRIB TV. Writes Hossein Baizayi
Over the past four decades, Iran’s state media, in general, and the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting Corporation (IRIB), in particular, have played a critical role in shaping the Iranian regime’s vision based on exporting the “Velayet e-Faqih” model to the region — and creating an idealized, false image of the regime. Over more than four decades of the Iranian regime’s existence, Iran’s media have systematically disseminated the regime’s propaganda inside Iran and beyond its borders. The IRIB is one of the regime’s main tools to project soft power, serving the principles and objectives of Tehran’s local and foreign policies. The head of the huge Corporation, among the largest media organizations in the Asian and Pacific regions, is appointed by the Supreme Leader.
The IRIB’s generous budget has had a hefty increase every year, with a whopping 56% increase this year. This is while Iranians are struggling to make ends meet on a day-to-day basis due to high prices and low incomes and government employees’ salaries are accompanied by a minimal increase in the budget. In other words, according to the 2022 budget bill, the amount of budget allocated to the Radio and Television Organization is 5,289 billion tomans. The question now is to what extent the broadcaster’s performance is in line with the estimated costs and the allocated budget. How could this sharp increase be justified?
It goes without saying that the Radio and Television Organization also earns money from advertisements and sponsorships.
IRIB losing audience
According to numerous experts and the general public, Iran’s state-run TV has lost its influence and popularity and is no longer considered popular. Some programs have a meager 0.8 – 1% of viewers.
According to a current Iranian director and actor, Iran’s television officials exert favoritism and personal preference. This organization has problems at different levels of management. After all, this medium is the best source for sending messages, advertising, and creating culture. Still, if the TV officials are going to have preferences and biases, its popularity will never make a comeback, and it will be dwindling. As long as political and non-artistic directors do not understand much of the cultural-artistic space, Iran’s television will be in trouble.
According to Tasnim news agency, during a meeting with producers, Peyman Jebeli, the head of Iran’s Radio and Television Organization confirmed the decline of the IRIB’s audience and said: “We have to ask ourselves why the audience’s interest in artists and their work has decreased.”
Among different reasons elaborated in the meeting, Jebeli blamed the lack of audience on artists and IRB officials: “Why are some films that were made in the past at a lower cost more popular? We are all guilty, and we cannot acquit ourselves.”
The head of the regime’s radio and television stressed: “Some producers were only concerned with how many viewers they had and did not have any concerns about the content. But I want to emphasize that in the new era, content also takes precedence.”
Jebeli also reacted to the fact that many programs were forced to be halted after he became the head of Iran’s Radio and Television Organization, saying, “Some people have said that Jebeli has ordered the revocation of some TV series, but this is not the case, and I have repeatedly emphasized when I went behind the scenes of the series that our intention is about improving the content and the production process, not revoking them.”
Iran’s radio and TV have never been popular
Iran’s radio and TV have never been popular among the people of Iran. Iran’s Radio and Television work closely with Iranian intelligence, judicial, and security officials to prevent the Iranian people from accessing information, and broadcasting government propaganda. The IRIB has one mission that has many faces: the creation of programs to amuse people and deviate their minds from the miseries the regime of the mullahs has imposed on them, spreading lies and fake news, broadcasting forced confessions of political/non-political prisoners, misinforming people of Iran’s current events, spreading hollow promises and in a nutshell, the IRIB acts as the mouthpiece of the regime in Tehran, the enemy of truth, transparency, and accountability. The decrease in the IRIB’s viewers is not unexpected or unprecedented. As the regime in Tehran becomes more unpopular, so will its propaganda machines.
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