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Iran's Satellite TV Goes Green

Iran - drawing by artist Termeh of Green opposition supporters.
Iran - drawing by artist Termeh of Green opposition supporters.
Iran's opposition Green Movement has
officially launched a new satellite TV channel, RASA TV (Resan-e Sabz-e Iran or
Iran's Green Media), RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.

Ebrahim Nabavi, one of the channel's organizers, told Radio Farda that their
aim is to break the state-controlled broadcasters' monopoly on the flow of
information, fight against censorship in Iran, reflect the views of all Iranian
people, and frankly discuss all issues related to Iran.

"During the last year, Iran's state TV never broadcast any [objective] news
about the Green Movement, and what it did broadcast was lies," Nabavi told
Radio Farda.

Nabavi pointed to two factors he believes served as incentives for launching
the new channel: the lack of news about political prisoners and the victims of
the crackdown that followed the June 2009 presidential election, and
manipulation of the news by the Iranian authorities.

"Censorship and distortion of the news in Iran led us to establish a new media
to collect news from inside Iran and then broadcast it back into the country
again," he explained.

As result of budgetary limitations, RASA TV currently broadcasts only a
one-hour news program. But its managers are willing to expand the program if
they receive more donations.

"To start with, we have one hour of news, but we are willing to post pictures
or video clips in our archive too," Nabavi told Radio Farda.

Nabavi says RASA TV differs from other broadcast outlets like Radio Farda, the
BBC Persian Service, and Deutsche Welle. He says those broadcasters are
financially dependent on foreign governments and have to follow the guidelines
they set down, whereas RASA TV operates on the basis of donations from people
around the world.

Radio Farda receives funding from the U.S. Congress, but is independent in its operations and editorial policy.

"If the Iranian Green Movement wants to achieve its goals in the long term, it
is necessary to have an independent media like RASA TV."

Nabavi told Radio Farda that the donations for launching RASA TV were raised by
a campaign on its FaceBook page to which many people contributed small amounts.

RASA TV's headquarters are based in Brussels, but many of its journalists live
in different countries and communicate via the Internet.

Its debut broadcast was on Tuesday, August 31.

Reported by Radio Farda and RFE/RL's O wire.