Saturday, July 10, 2010

Regime's propagandist welcomed by two German television network presidents

Earlier this week, the head of the Islamic Republic's radio-television broadcaster (IRIB), Ezatollah Zarghami, canceled his trip to the Netherlands where he was to have met with Dutch network heads. The official reason was that he had conflicts in his schedule, but perhaps protests planned by opponents of the regime which could have embarrassed Zarghami during his photo ops also played a part in the cancellation.

So where does the top media executive of a pariah regime have to go to get some love in Europe?

Germany, it seems, where Zarghami was welcomed by not one, but two network presidents in Mainz yesterday, Friday, July 9, 2010. Islamic Republic TV cameras were present to film Zarghami's meeting with ARD chairman Peter Boudgoust and ZDF director-general Markus Schächter:

'In a friendly meeting with Mr. Zarghami, ARD chief Peter Boudgoust expressed satisfaction with the encounter and said, "We would like to increase our cooperation with [IRIB] by collaborating on all facets of program production and exchanges,"' IRIB journalist Jafar Azizi gushed. Boudgoust also asked Zarghami to help ARD set up an office for its radio operations in Tehran, according to the segment.

'Schächter, the head of the ZDF network, welcomed a close relationship with IRIB and said, "We seek to pave the way for cooperation in all fields of radio and television with Iran,"' IRIB's correspondent said in the report. 'In an official letter, ZDF's president requested the establishment of a representative office in Tehran.'

At a time when major German companies such as Siemens and Mercedes are pulling out of the Islamic Republic, the cozy meeting and the statements attributed to the heads of the media outlets, which happen to be public-service networks, are bizarre.

A beaming Zarghami said, 'ZDF and IRIB are two powerful organizations which can engage in extremely worthy cooperation in the field of media. The people of Iran and Germany will be able to see the results.' I'm sure they will.

In order to congratulate these two pioneering German media executives on their spirit of entrepreneurship:

Peter Boudgoust
ARD chairman
Neckarstraße 230
70 190 Stuttgart
Telephone: +49-7 11-92 90
Fax: +49-7 11-9 29 2600
Press office: Harald Dietz
ARD contact page

Markus Schächter
ZDF Enterprises GmbH
Erich-Dombrowski-Str. 1
D-55127 Mainz
Tel. +49 (0) 6131-991-0
Fax +49 (0) 6131-991-1552
ZDF contact page