Voice from the Commonwealth
Commentary, World Views and Occasional Rants from a small 'l' libertarian in Massachussetts

"If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest for freedom, go home and leave us in peace. We seek not your council nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." - Samuel Adams

Thursday, June 19, 2003

A story about one of the private sattelite stations going into Iran from the US.

As Tehran was gripped by an ninth straight night of tense anti-government protests and clashes late Wednesday, a team of Persian exiles toiled in a Los Angeles television studio to encourage revolution against Iran's leaders.

"I want to change things from the inside now to avoid Iran being attacked by another country," said former rock star Zia Atabay, who runs Iranian National Television (NITV), a California-based satellite broadcaster.

Since the protests first erupted at Teheran University and spread to other cities, NITV has devoted most of its 24-hour Farsi-language programming to beaming news and political talk shows into Iran's heartland.

Atabay, who has about 33 staff, said protesters were using NITV to help coordinate their efforts by exchanging information on his live phone-in shows that offer an alternative to Iran's strictly-controlled state media.

The station's 16 telephone lines are jammed with up to 60 calls an hour from viewers, mostly in Iran.

Atabay - who launched NITV as a youth entertainment channel for the Farsi-speaking diaspora after a making a fortune from a plastic surgery business that still finances the operation - is blunt about his views.

"I tell (the Iranian people) that the regime is over," he said, predicting that with international support for the demonstrators and a western economic blockade, the government could fall within months.

"I tell them that ... if they are sending people to beat you or kill you it's only because they are afraid," he said of the attacks on anti-government protesters by puritanical vigilantes and the arrests of hundreds of demonstrators.

< email | 6/19/2003 01:12:00 PM | link

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