A while ago I had blogged about how the Voice of America- Persian Service was politicking blatantly in its news coverage– accusing without so much as an interview or factual reference–neoconservatives of hating Iran. (VOA-Persian Service did not publish a correction).
Now, as the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks nears, it may be time for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) to consider its mission and how it achieves it. “Winston,” an Iranian expatriate blogger, points me to a section on the RFE/RL homepage called “highlights” which includes a section called #my911, which features personal remembrances of that horrific day. Below is one of the remembrances published on a website funded by American taxpayers and written by a contributor from Peshawar, Pakistan:
On that day my father and I were going from Peshawar to Charsadda to attend my cousin’s marriage… While on the way one of my friends called me on my cell phone, the use of which was still rare in those days, and he told me to switch on my television. However, I told him, “I am on the road and not able to get to a television now.” At the same time he told me that someone had attacked America. It was unbelievable for me but when I turned and told this to my father, a big smile appeared on his face. He replied that it had happened because of what America is doing with the international community. After that, when I reached Charsadda, I came to know that everyone was happy about the attack.
There’s a tendency among many U.S.-government funded broadcasters to believe broadcasting criticism bolsters credibility. In reality, many foreigners just find the self-flagellation pathetic. They tune into VOA and RFE/RL to hear news which their own governments censor, or which their own journalists could never tackle. Expressions of glee at the murder of nearly 3,000 people are not something RFE/RL should tolerate, whether on the RFE/RL website directly, or in a separate project among the “highlights.”