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شنبه ۲۵ آذر ۱۳۹۶ ایران ۰۷:۰۳

Persian tv weekly highlights 1/5


Reaching Millions of Television Viewers in Iran Each Week

Washington, D.C. January 4 – Israel continued its attack on Gaza as the international community urged both sides to negotiate a ceasefire. Other major stories include coverage of the U.S. hand over of the Green Zone in Baghdad to Iraqi officials; new reports of harassment suffered by Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi in Tehran; and a look at the power of political cartoons in an interview with Mana Neyestani.

ISRAELI CONSUL GENERAL APPEARS ON PNN TO DEFEND ISRAEL ACTION

News and Views January 2 – In a PNN exclusive, the Israeli Consul General appeared on PNN to talk about the situation in Gaza. Jacob Dayan said his government is in search of moderates on the Palestinian side to negotiate a lasting peace that leads to a two-state solution, "but first we need to fully dismantle the military power of Hamas in Gaza, including the destruction of all stockpiles of rockets and missiles." Mr. Dayan said that when Israel withdrew its forces from Gaza in 2006, plans were made to bring investment into Gaza and to rebuild the area as a “technical and economic bread basket of sorts.” According to Mr. Dayan, instead of bringing investors into Gaza, the Hamas government set up the territory as a haven for terrorists to attack innocent Israeli citizens. "Israel vacated Gaza, dismantled all the settlements in the Gaza Strip more than three years ago, and did not leave a shred of a presence there," he added. “The cease-fire that lasted from June until December 19 was used by Hamas to increase its military strength – mainly to smuggle in rockets from Iran, which have a range of 20 miles. No democracy in the world would tolerate its citizens under the rain of daily missiles,” he concluded.


LEADER IN ARAB-AMERICAN COMMUNITY SPEAKS UP ON GAZA CRISIS

News and Views January 2
– PNN spoke with Hussein Ibish, the Communications Director for the American Taskforce on Palestine, about the Israeli attack on Gaza. Mr. Ibish said that Hamas has yet to give an explanation to Palestinians and the Arab world as to why it decided not to extend the ceasefire and prevent a flare-up in hostilities with Israel. "The ordinary Palestinians are suffering as a result of this decision by Hamas and they are taking the brunt of the Israeli attacks – not the Hamas leadership. Hamas needs to be held accountable for its decision-making," he said. "Hasan Nasrollah, the leader of Hezbollah, said in the aftermath of Israel's devastating war with Lebanon that he wouldn't have provoked Israel had he known the terrible consequences that the war would have for his country. Hamas leaders cannot repeat this kind of answer," he added. "U.S. national interests have intertwined with the conflict in the Middle East. The conflict has poisoned America's relations with some of its friends in the region. If the United States can bring about a lasting peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors, it will boost America's standing in the region," according to Ibish. He suggested that Washington should play a key role in working with political forces within both Israeli and Palestinian politics to work towards a two-state solution that ensures security for Israel and a viable homeland for Palestinians. "America should also engage those who are against the peace process in order to bring them on board because the current situation can run the risk of strengthening Hamas politically," he added. In closing, he said, “There is no military solution to this conflict. There can only be a political one.”

PRESIDENT BUSH SPEAKS WITH PALESTINIAN LEADERS

News and Views December 31 – President George Bush had phone conversations with Palestinian leaders today regarding the conflict in Gaza. The president spoke about the recent conflict between Hamas and Israel and addressed the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. White House Spokesman Gordon Johndroe stressed that while Washington is asking for a renewal of a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel, the truce should be durable and sustainable by both sides. U.S. officials hold Hamas responsible for the current military confrontation; however, both President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice have expressed their concerns regarding the grave humanitarian crisis in Gaza. The United States has announced that it will contribute $85 million to the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East for its 2009 appeals.

PRESIDENT BUSH SPEAKS WITH THE ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER ABOUT GAZA

News and Views January 1 – PNN reported that White House Spokesman Gordon Johndroe said on Wednesday that President Bush spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert regarding the current military confrontation in Gaza. Both leaders stressed that Hamas should stop missile attacks on Israel. Johndroe also said that Hamas should stop smuggling weapons to Gaza. Mr. Olmert assured President Bush that Israel will only target Hamas military bases and that they will do all that they can to minimize civilian casualties. The U.S. had joined other Middle East Quartet members in asking for an immediate ceasefire.

WASHINGTON KEEPS A CLOSE WATCH ON THE ISRAELI-GAZA CONFLICT

News and Views January 3 – PNN spoke with analyst Dr. Bahman Aghaii Diba about the Gaza situation. Dr. Diba shed some light on the short term and long term goals of the Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip. He began with an overview of recent history stating, “Since Hamas got control of the Gaza Strip, Israel and Egypt have limited their relationships with that region.” He spoke about the likelihood of Syrian and Iranian aid to Hamas. According to him, Israel’s offensive is related to an upcoming election. In response to efforts by Arab leaders and Mahmoud Abbas to discuss a UN resolution condemning Israel, Dr. Diba answered, “In this situation, it won’t be successful. Despite the religious group’s protests, the international community is unhappy with Hamas’ headstrong policies and Iran’s interference. Israel needs to protect its own people against Hamas’ missile attacks.” Dr. Diba was asked why a conference of Islamic leaders did not pay attention to Iran’s request for a special session. He answered by saying it was due to the dissatisfaction of Arab countries over Iran’s meddling in Gaza and Lebanon. “They consider Iran’s behavior as interference in the Arab world,” he added.

News and Views January 3 – In his weekly radio address, President Bush called Hamas a Palestinian terrorist group supported by Iran and Syria. The U.S. president said he is monitoring the conflict in Gaza closely with the members of his national security team. President Bush said the United States’ stance in the Middle East is clear. The U.S. seeks security and peace for Israelis. At the same time, Washington seeks a democratic Palestinian state as well. U.S. officials have stressed that Washington supports a durable and sustainable ceasefire between Hamas and Israel. The U.S. secretary of state said that the U.S. is seeking a ceasefire that would not allow Hamas to continue to launch missiles out of Gaza.

Newstalk December 31 – PNN analyzed the latest on world reactions to the Hamas-Israeli conflict with in-studio guest Mohsen Sazegara and Alireza Nourizadeh from London. Mr. Nourizadeh summarized the reasons why Israel is seeking to unseat the military power of Hamas by destroying strategic structures around Gaza. He commented that for Hamas, “the most important issue is to win the propaganda war.” Mr. Nourizadeh does not believe that Hamas follows the wishes of the Palestinian people but instead follows the interests of those who fund Hamas and whose governments, such as Iran, impart great interest on the success of Hamas. In his opinion, Iran’s government uses the Palestinian issue to deflect attention away from domestic problems such as poverty and unemployment in Iran. Mr. Sazegara agreed with Mr. Nourizadeh by stating that Ayatollah Khamenei encourages Hamas to continue the war and he does not think the result will be a disaster for the Palestinian people. Mr. Sazegara is critical of Hamas because he believes it does not act as a responsible organization or government on behalf of the people of Gaza. Both guests touched on the extent of corruption in Iran by highlighting the 2008 stories on various corruptive practices that were reported in the news.

Newstalk December 30 – In studio guest Dr. Sohrab Sobhani and London-based analyst Nasser Mohamadi joined PNN to discuss the role of Iran in the breakdown of relations between Israel and Hamas. Mr. Mohamadi asserted, “Hamas was against peace from the first day and started a war with Fatah.” According to him, the leaders in Iran are the only ones in the region who wish to see Hamas continue the war with Israel. However, he believes that the Iranian people do not want to go to war with Israel. Mr. Mohamadi was quick to point out that the Palestinian problem is not a religious issue as claimed so by the Iranian regime. Dr. Sobhani followed up by saying that Iran's regime uses the Palestinian problem to deflect attention away from its domestic problems. Dr. Sobhani believes that Arab countries in the region can provide regional security without Iran's cooperation. He added, “It would be better for Iran and the Iranian people if their government supported the peace process.”

News and Views December 30 – Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice spoke with diplomats from the Middle East, United Nations, and European Union in attempts to get a handle on the current conflict in Gaza. Officials from the U.S. State Department and the White House emphasized that the United States understands that Israel needs to take actions to defend itself. U.S. officials have called upon Hamas leaders to agree to a durable and sustainable ceasefire with Israel. White House Spokesman Gordon Johndroe also repeated Washington’s position that Hamas is responsible for the current military confrontation and asked for an immediate cessation of rocket attacks on Israel.

News and Views December 29 – PNN reported developments as the military confrontation in Gaza enters its third day. Officials in Washington followed the news closely. Sources close to the president-elect said that he had a phone conversation with the Secretary of State regarding the situation in Gaza. President-elect Obama’s political chief adviser, David Axelrod, told reporters that it is the president-elect’s desire to see constructive forces in the region that will bring about sustainable peace for both Palestinians and Israelis. Secretary Rice stated that Hamas is responsible for breaking a ceasefire and attacking Israel. Yesterday, Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni stressed that since Hamas is targeting Israel from non-military locations, it is difficult to avoid civilian casualties.

NOBEL PEACE PRIZE WINNER THREATENED IN HER OWN HOME IN TEHRAN

News and Views January 2 – In a PNN follow up, News and Views reported that Iranian Nobel Peace winner Shirin Ebadi was threatened in her home in Tehran on Thursday. Scores of young men gathered around her Tehran home-office shouting slogans against Ms. Ebadi. In the latest episode, her home was vandalized by hardliner political groups close to the government that seek to intimidate the human rights lawyer. In an interview with PNN, Ms. Ebadi said that the two police officers finally dispatched to her home after her frantic phone calls to the authorities "just watched" as the vandals ripped the sign bearing her name off of the front of her home and screamed that she was a supporter of Israel's Gaza offensive. The vandals also spray-painted slogans on the front of her building. "If any demonstration must be permitted by the interior ministry, where were the authorities? Why did police not disperse them?" a distraught Ms. Ebadi said in a telephone interview with PNN. "While the mobs were shouting slogans against me, the police were watching." Thursday's demonstration marks the third time in 11 days that authorities or forces close to the authorities have moved against Ms. Ebadi, whose small Center for the Defense of Human Rights compiled a report cited by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon that led to a nonbinding December 18 UN resolution calling on Iran to improve its human rights record. Three days later authorities shut down the center and alleged that the center was operating without a permit. On December 29, authorities seized Ms. Ebadi's computer and confidential records. Authorities accused her of tax evasion even though she has not accepted payment for her work in 15 years.

CONTROVERSY CONTINUES OVER THE TOMB OF CYRUS THE GREAT

Roundtable December 30 – Heated debate over the appropriateness of restoration tools and techniques used in Cyrus’s tomb continued with a PNN follow-up. VOA served as a channel to convey public demand in Iran for a proper and transparent response by the Iranian government and related cultural organizations. Panel guests from Iran included Hassan Rahsaz, who serves as the director of restoration of the ancient tomb; Dr. Kaveh Farrokh, a professor of archeology at British Columbia; Bahram Abtin, the director of the Iranbaan Cultural Center in Iran; and Hamidreza Khosravani, who serves as the director of the Ahuramanesh Association in Iran. The director of the restoration project argued that the news reports are biased and stated that the work meets the standards set by the government. Meanwhile, many NGOs inside and outside Iran are concerned over the lack of transparency in the process. They say there is little way to verify the accuracy of the project that Iranian officials are claiming. After debating over what defines the standard of “proper tools and techniques,” a lack of transparency and accountability were identified as the two main problems seen when evaluating controversial reports on the reconstruction process. Callers to the show demanded a transparent response from the Iranian Cultural Heritage Organization.

CRACKDOWN ON IRAN’S CIVIL SOCIETY AND PRESS CONTINUES

48 Hours January 3 – PNN followed up on unsettling events that rattled Iranian civil society last week. PNN began with a story on the closure of the Kargozaran newspaper. The Iranian press watchdog shut down the leading reformist newspaper on Wednesday over publication of a piece criticizing Palestinian militants for taking up position in kindergartens and hospitals. A second story focused on the harassment of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi. Iranian authorities raided her law office, seizing computers and confidential client files, and protesters chanted death threats at her home last week. PNN spoke with London-based veteran Iranian journalist Massoud Behnoud. Mr. Behnoud said that both events demonstrate that the regime is anxious about the upcoming presidential election and that the chasm between the government and the public and the worsening economic circumstances is widening. "The government feels it has to choke off every outlet that exists for public dissent," he said. He remarked that this year marks 100 years of the press in Iran. “Unfortunately, the Iranian people do not value the freedom of the press adequately and that even if a newspaper is doing a good job, the people do not support its work,” he added. He cited the low circulation of newspapers and dailies in Iran as evidence. Mr. Behnoud urged civil society and human rights activists to coalesce around issues of expanding political space for the upcoming election. "If we don't do that then we will lose the fight and the radicals will win," he said. "We don't know if the Iranian supreme leader gave his blessing to this recent wave of crackdowns. We thought that the Shah was behind every decision to repress every kind of political activity in Iran before the revolution, but we realized we were wrong," he added. Remarking on the government's effort to indoctrinate the youth, he said "Iran's younger generation has other ways of seeking the truth, and they will do that with an open mind. The regime's efforts will be for naught."

IRANIAN HISTORIAN SHEDS LIGHT ON BRITISH GOVERNMENT IN 1979 IRAN

48 Hours January 4 – In a follow up with an Iranian historian, PNN sheds light on the attitude of the British government during the events leading up to the 1979 Iranian revolution. Historian Majid Tafreshi granted PNN an interview on the internal attitudes of Britain regarding the impending revolution. Mr. Tafreshi said, “Britain and the United States clung to the belief that the shah of Iran would remain in power until shortly before the Islamic revolution, according to newly declassified documents from 1978.” Mr. Tafreshi was granted access to these documents, which were released by the National Archives in London under a UK provision which mandates that official papers be made open to the public after 30 years. Mr. Tafreshi said that, unfortunately, British diplomats did not keep any regular contact with average Iranians and their communications were limited to the elite of Iranian society. "This gave them a distorted picture of what was going on and the extent of the public's dissatisfaction with the regime," he added. “Officials thought Mohammad Reza Pahlavi would continue to rule in some form up to the final weeks of 1978, in spite of violence, protests and the increasing influence of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini,” he added. "Human rights were an important consideration for British foreign policy towards Iran, but it was never paramount. For them, British national interests came first, and that is still the case," he continued. The shah was not pleased with the coverage of Iran by BBC and on many occasions he protested to the officials of the British government, but, according to Mr. Tafreshi, the British consistently assured the shah that they did not influence the editorial policy of BBC. "They told the shah that although we fund BBC's operation, we do not formulate BBC's editorial policy," he said. Mr. Tafreshi closed by saying, “British diplomats were in tune with what was going on Iran in the 19th century and gradually lost their ability to read Iranian society correctly. I don't believe that the Iranian revolution of 1979 was a conspiracy.”

U.S. HANDS OVER GREEN ZONE TO IRAQI FORCES

News and Views January 2 – In a historic ceremony in Baghdad, U.S. officials handed over control of the Baghdad Green Zone to Iraqi security forces. Iraqi Prime Minister Noori al-Maliki attended the ceremony. He marked the importance of this event by dedicating this historic date as “National Sovereignty Day.” According to reports, 1,400 U.S. soldiers and private security contractors reside in the Green Zone. Colonel Steven Ferrari, the commander responsible for U.S. troops in the Green Zone, said U.S. and Iraqi officials will try to cut U.S. troops and contractors down to about half of the current numbers by mid 2009. In another development, the U.S. secretary of state reiterated Washington’s stance regarding the current conflict in Gaza. Secretary Rice called for an immediate ceasefire. She urged leaders to negotiate a durable and sustainable truce which is respected by both sides. She also said she has no plan to travel to the region.

THE WORLD AT A GLANCE: 2008 A YEAR IN STORIES

Newstalk January 2 – Newstalk examined the latest developments in Gaza in light of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's remarks today. The idea of an international monitoring system, as reported by media outlets, is being considered by Israeli officials in consultation with American, European and Arab leaders. Reports indicate that the leaders are working together around the clock to reach negotiations for a sustainable cease fire in Gaza. In other news, the transfer of the Green Zone in Iraq was highlighted. Iraqi officials welcomed the idea and called for a "national day." In a wrap-up of prominent stories in 2008, Newstalk gave updates on the important events that shaped U.S. foreign policy this year. The Status of Forces Agreement in Iraq; the Georgian conflict and issues of NATO expansion; the world financial crisis; the Beijing Olympics; and the historic election of Barack Obama were discussed with VOA contributor Shayan Samii and political science professor Dr. Aram Hessami.

Roundtable January 1 – Roundtable aired the top stories of 2008 in U.S. foreign policy news, economy developments, technology, sports and show business. Viewers were asked to comment on the event that they believed to be the most important event of the last year and the impact it had on their lives.

News and Views December 29 – PNN took a closer look at what the media has been focusing on as 2008 comes to an end. CNN.com wrote about the President-elect’s merit of diversity in his cabinet positions. Le Monde described the president-elect as the “cyber-president” due to his savvy use of the internet and social networking sites during his campaign. The LA Times wrote about the percentage of different religious faiths practiced by members of the 111th Congress. A poll by NBC reflected that the American public’s "honeymoon" with the president-elect continues. About 56 percent of the people who took part in the poll approve of his choices so far. The International Herald Tribune pointed out that President-elect Obama has not discussed any different policy to resolve the Gaza conflict than those posed by President Bush's administration so far. The New York Times published an article about Caroline Kennedy's interviews over the past two days. In Ms. Kennedy’s interview with the New York Times, she stated that if she did not believe she was the best candidate for the position, she would not have shown any interest in the matter.


CAPITOL HILL UPDATE

News and Views January 2 – PNN reported that President-elect Barack Obama will arrive in Washington DC Saturday. He will take up residence at the Hay-Adams with his family until the White House's guest quarters at Blair House, across Pennsylvania Avenue, are available January 15. Meanwhile, Congress will start hearing sessions for cabinet members appointed by the president-elect. There is much anticipation over the hearing for Senator Hillary Clinton. In other news, controversy continues to surround the possible appointment of Caroline Kennedy to replace Hillary Clinton in the Senate. "Nothin' ain't happening unless I say it," said New York Governor David Patterson about Caroline Kennedy and her appointment to Hillary Clinton's vacant seat. There are new reports about the fate of the Statue of Liberty, which has been closed to the public for the last 7 years. The president-elect was one of the presenters of a legislative bill tending to Lady Liberty and the repair of the hallway and 162 stairs inside her structure.

News and Views January 1 – Indicted Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich appointed former Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris to the U.S. Senate on Tuesday. Mr. Burris said he does not intend to have a confrontation in the Senate by demanding to be seated. Senate Democrats have stated they will not admit anyone appointed by the governor. Blagojevich is facing impeachment for his alleged attempts to sell the senate seat for personal gain. President-elect Obama supported the announcement by senate democrats that Blagojevich's appointment "will ultimately not stand." The president-elect agrees with senate democrats and he is extremely disappointed that Governor Blagojevich has chosen to ignore the advice of Illinois leaders and others nationwide. President-elect Obama said, “I believe the best resolution would be for the governor to resign his office and allow a lawful and appropriate process of succession to take place. While Governor Blagojevich is entitled to his day in court, the people of Illinois are entitled to a functioning government and major decisions free of taint and controversy." In other news, the president-elect and his family are preparing to leave Hawaii and end their vacation. They will stay at the Hay-Adams hotel down the street from the White House until they can move in after the inauguration. Over 60,000 volunteers have asked to take part in preparations for Inauguration Day. The Inauguration Committee says that this is the people’s way of showing their frustration over the bad situation they are in and the fact that they really look forward to change and want to be part of it.

ENVIRONMENTAL NEWS ON IRAN REFLECTS A GRIM OUTLOOK

Roundtable December 31 – In a PNN follow up from last week’s report on pollution in Tehran, a Roundtable analysis reflected that Iran is facing increasing concerns over air pollution levels, water and soil contamination, deforestation and improper waste management. It is estimated that about 27 people die each day from pollution related diseases. The World Bank estimates losses inflicted on Iran's economy as a result of deaths caused by air pollution cost $640 million per year. Experts believe these problems are avoidable and question the effectiveness of government management and individual initiatives.

A BOOK ABOUT THE WEIGHT AND FREEDOM OF FAMILY SECRETS IN TEHRAN

Late Edition January 3 – Late Edition introduced the second memoir by Azar Nafisi, author of the international bestseller book, Reading Lolita in Tehran. Her second book is a memoir entitled Things I've been Silent About. The memoir was published on December 30, 2008. The book focuses on the weight of family secrets and the effect of political life on the bonds of the family. She writes about her mother who, despite her complicated personality, was among the first women to be elected to the Iranian parliament. In this book, Ms. Nafisi writes about her beloved father, her parent's failed marriage, and Ms. Nafisi’s own love life and personal journey. Late Edition highlighted reviews on this book from The New York Times, The Economist, and The Washington Times.

A CARTOONIST ILLUSTRATES HOW CARTOONS CAN INCITE RIOTS

Late Edition January 2 – PNN took a look at cartoonist Mana Neyestani. Mr. Neyestani was born in Tehran in 1973. He is the younger brother of Tooka Neyestani who is a prominent cartoonist himself. He received his Masters in Architecture from Tehran University but found that his real passion was illustration. He has worked as a professional cartoonist and illustrator with different magazines and newspapers since 1989. Mr. Neyestani spoke about how much he enjoys his job and he described what it means to express one’s opinions and beliefs through cartoons. He commented on a string of riots that erupted in an ethnic Azeri section of Iran as a result of a cartoon he created that was published in the children's section of a government run newspaper in Iran. He and the editor-in-chief were arrested by government officials and the newspaper was closed down following the riots. Mr. Neyestani left Iran to continue his education and currently resides in Malaysia. He talked about the freedom of expression in Iran and criticized the government for increasing pressure on the media. He has published his political cartoons on different websites and in newspapers outside of Iran. In closing, he spoke of his hopes to return to Iran one day and to publish his works in his homeland.

THEATER DIRECTOR BEGINS DIALOGUES PROJECT IN FORMER YUGOSLAVIA

Late Edition January 3 – PNN shined a light on a talented theater director who is working to bridge the east-west divide in theater. Soheil Parsa completed studies in theater performance at the University of Tehran and began a promising career as an actor and director. Arriving in Canada with his family as a political refugee in 1984, Mr. Parsa completed a second Bachelor of Arts in Theater Studies at York University. Later he established the Modern Times Stage Company, which received accolades for its culturally diverse take on theater. He has produced different plays in Canada, blending eastern elements with classical European plays such as Macbeth and Hamlet. He said, “It's been a successful journey so far.” Mr. Parsa also translated some of the most famous Iranian plays into English and produced them in Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver. He talked about his latest international project to deliver a message of peace and friendship, combining a group of Muslim, Serb, and Croat actors who will perform in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

This week on the History Channel…The week began with the second half of a four hour special called Desperate Crossing: the Untold Story of the Mayflower. Dramatic re-enactments based on original source material brought to life the true story of the Puritan's terrible plight. In 1620 in England, asmall group of men, women and children tormented by religious persecution embarked on a horrific journey to a hostile land in the hope of a new and better life. Forced to land in New England due to harsh December weather, half of the 100 colonists who survived the harrowing Atlantic crossing on the Mayflower, died of starvation and exposure in that first winter. Produced by Lone Wolf Films (Witch Hunt, Failure Is Not An Option) Desperate Crossing: the Untold Story of the Mayflower is an honest story of remarkable courage and endurance, intolerance and humiliation, brutal violence and compassion, deceit and heroism.The few Pilgrims who survived the first winter in Plymouth were heroes for establishing a foundation for a new nation.Next up, Biography profiled Salman Rushdie. For nearly ten years, Salman Rushdie was the world's most-wanted man, marked for death with a multi-million dollar bounty on his head. His crime was writing the novel The Satanic Verses. On February 14, 1989, Iran's spiritual leader Ayatollah Khomeini issued a religious edict charging that the book slandered Islam and its prophet, Mohammed. Rushdie was sentenced to death, and immediately went underground. However, Rushdie would not remain silent. On occasion, he made unannounced public appearances and campaigned actively to get his life back. In 1998, Iran formally renounced the fatwa, but even today there are occasional calls from right-wing Muslim fundamentalists for his death. Biography examined Salman Rushdie from his childhood in India to his emergence as a highly-acclaimed and controversial writer to the years spent hiding from Khomeini's assassins and to the "normal life" he now tries to maintain in New York City. Lastly, the two-part Alaska: Dangerous Territory featured the dramatic stories of four killer jobs from the last 150 years of Alaska history. For generations, Alaska has exerted a powerful pull as the place to head for a job like no other – work that promises the adventure of a lifetime, the chance to strike it rich, and the very real prospect of never making it back alive. Plying their trades on America’s last frontier, soldiers, coast guard crewmen, bush pilots, and truckers all work for the same boss from hell: a dangerous territory full of the most inhospitable weather and extreme terrain on earth.

PNN’s question of the week was “Is Iran playing a constructive role in resolving the Israel-Palestinian conflict?” Out of 7,159 respondents, 1,100 or 15 percent said yes, 5,925or 83 percent said no, while 134 or 2 percent did not have an opinion.
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The Persian News Network’s television programming complements its radio broadcasts. VOA has the largest combined radio and television audience of all international broadcasters in Iran, with one in four Iranian households tuning into a VOA show at least once a week. Programs also are streamed on www.voapnn.com.

PNN’s 7-hour program block opens with Today in Washington, a brief look at the latest news developments in Washington, as well as the content of PNN’s upcoming programs. Then we present cultural programming translated into Farsi from A&E Television Network’s The History Channel. We intersperse 30-minutes of newsbreaks throughout our original programming, which includes the following shows: Today’s Woman, featuring influential women from around the world who discuss a full spectrum of social, medical, human rights, legal, sports and business topics. News and Views, PNN’s existing flagship, features live news coverage of the latest headlines from Washington, Iran and across the globe. Roundtable with You is a talk show with expert guests, featuring discussion of current events, politics, popular culture and global health. Viewers and listeners from Iran and around the world participate in the show via phone calls and e-mails. Late Edition begins with a wrap-up of the day’s news and a close look at the day’s top story. Targeted to a younger demographic, the show also features segments on health, technology, sports, entertainment and culture. NewsTalk is a journalists’ roundtable discussion program that features a news update followed by an examination of the day’s top stories and an in-depth look at issues relating to Iran.


PNN INSIDER - VIEWER PERSPECTIVES

A Today’s Woman viewer writes:
“Most of the Today’s Woman programs in 2008 have been great. We learned a lot from it. We became aware of many issues that we hadn’t heard about. You introduced excellent guests in the program that freely exercised the freedom of expression. This is due to the fact that you live in a free country.”

Sahand from Tehran writes: “Greeting. You would better focus more on the stage managers. Ahmadinejad, or Mortazavi and similar persons are only the puppets, who are directed by the “puppet- managers” such as Mr. Khamenei, Mebah Yazdi and the like. In your political discussions, put the think-tank of the regime into question.”

Amir writes: “I am writing with regards to the program [Today’s Woman] you had about Ameneh Bahrami who was blinded by a man who threw acid on her face. I would like to say that; the best punishment for the violator is to keep him in prison for life time. He is a sick individual and should be kept away from the society.”

Diyako from Kermanshah comments: “The Iranian state-run TV had a coverage which showed shipments of medicine and food for Gaza Strip. That is good; but when we see an Iraniangirl commit self-immolation only for being in absolute poverty, then we assume that the authorities of the Regime are not real Iranians. Here we should say: Charity begins at home.”

A Today’s Woman viewer writes:
“I would like to say that Today’s Woman was the best thing that happened in my life in 2008. In my point of view the program was an honorable guest in people’s houses. It was like a light that enlightened the viewers mind. I hope the sun of your program will continue to shine in our houses so that our hearts would become warmer. Today’s Woman program, unlike the other programs at VOA, has a wide range of viewers. Man, woman, young and old people follow Today’s Woman. You are probably aware of this yourself.”

Fariborz from Tehran writes: “The closure of Human Rights Center in Iran shows that the Iranian authoritiesdo not accept any civil entity. The report card of this regime proves that it cannot be reformed.”

A viewer responds to blogging: Thanks to all of you who are producing the interesting, immanent and long-lasting Today’s Woman program. In one of your programs that was broadcast a while ago, you talked about blogs and the responsibility of preserving the private sphere. I totally agree with you. As a blogger you cannot write whatever you want without considering other people’s privacy. We can write about the news, social issues or our private life. But morally, I do not think it is right to cross the privacy line of people. This has happened to our family. We live in a small city and a blogger put picture of my sister in the internet. My sister got depressed and she several times attempted to take her own life. However my family supported her and she is better now. You know better how traditional the Iranian society is and how a birthday picture of you on the internet may destroy your life. Please talk about this issue in your programs.”
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