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Archive for Saturday, January 10, 2009

BBC Persian channel starts controversy

January 10, 2009

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— Professional and impartial journalists, or a bunch of spies?

The British Broadcasting Corp.’s Persian-language channel created controversy in Iran even before its official launch Wednesday.

The BBC was accused a month ago of attempting to recruit Iranians for “espionage and psychological warfare,” according to the official Islamic Republic News Agency.

Meanwhile, the BBC said the new channel will present “high-quality, accurate and impartial news, information and analysis” to Persian speakers in their native language. It is targeting audiences in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and elsewhere.

But the channel also will face hurdles with Iranian authorities. BBC spokesman Mike Gardner told the Associated Press in an e-mail that his company has a complex relationship with Iran.

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