Iran sponsoring Radio NZ staff

February 22nd, 2010 at 12:15 pm by David Farrar

Busted Blonde has a great scoop. She has found out two staff members are being sponsored by the Islamic Republic of Broadcasting agency to attend some sort of broadcasting event in .

So taking money from evil capitalist businesses in New Zealand is wrong, but from the Iranian Government (a known bastion of free speech) is fine.

The head of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting agency is the man who told the world press last July that videos of Neda Agha-Soltan’s death were fakes manufactured by the BBC and CNN.

UPDATE: In a comment below, Radio NZ says the staff are not representing Radio NZ, and that they would not attend if the IRIBA had invited them directly but somehow it is okay because it is through the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union. What is not yet clear is who is paying for the travel – IRIBA or the APBU, and also whether the staff are being paid to attend, or taking unpaid or annual leave]

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41 Responses to “Iran sponsoring Radio NZ staff”

  1. TripeWryter (715 comments) says:

    To be fair to RNZ, it’s not quite what you say, David.

    Paul Bushnell and Adam Macaulay have been invited by the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union to attend this annual event held in Iran, running from 26 – 29 May. Adam will be taking part as an ABU jury member, and helping to run an ABU Prizes Backpack workshop on drama (for broadcasters from all over Asia) which runs before the festival. Paul will be contributing some papers to the adjacent radio forum, and chairing some of its sessions as well. All costs for the trip are covered by the conference organisers, the IRIB (Islamic Revolution of Iran Broadcasting agency).

    It makes clear that the even it organised by the ABU. The host venue is Iran. And the conference organisers are sharing costs with the Iranian broadcasting agency.

    That’s a bit different from the even being organised and run by Iran, and paid for entirely by them.

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  2. David Farrar (1,880 comments) says:

    The way I read it the conference organisers are the IRIB, and they are the ones paying all the costs. I welcome clarification if that is not the case, but regardless think there is an issue about having a state sponsored enemy of the free press, paying for even part of the costs of RNZ staff,

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  3. MikeNZ (3,234 comments) says:

    I sincerely hope that our Kiwis will ask publicly why the broadcasters hid the mass rapes of the freedom protesters from their fellow Iranians and the world.

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  4. TripeWryter (715 comments) says:

    All costs for the trip are covered by the conference organisers, the IRIB (Islamic Revolution of Iran Broadcasting agency).

    Hmmm … OK, the comma between ‘organisers’ and ‘the IRIB’ suggests that the Iranians are paying for it all. But that might be a grammatical error by someone.

    As for sponsored trips by enemies of the free press — been done for decades: The Chinese, the Soviets and their obedient allies, the Iranians (several journos have been to Iran paid for by the current regime), Iraq.

    The rule has been — you report as you would normally. It was the same when I was sent on a freebie to the US. We acknowleged who the sponsors were.

    [DPF: There is a difference between going into a country on some sort of recognised sponsored trip. But to have an actual broadcasting conference in a country with no free media, is appalling.]

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  5. serge (108 comments) says:

    Well TripeWryter, how nice of you to bring clarity to an IRIB sponsorship, forgeting that the IRIB is a full subsidiary of the same islamic revolutionary council which also sponsors Hizbullah, Hamas and other well meaning ABU type organizations.

    These invitees from RNZ are playing with fire since these islamic organizations never give something for nothing as they are a killocracy.

    They will come back with some good solid thoughts about how to turn us into a kiwistan.

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  6. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    ” The rule has been — you report as you would normally. ”

    That’s the problem. Nobody wants to hear subversive communist propaganda.

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  7. toad (3,674 comments) says:

    Oh, come on DPF. This is sponsorship for two journalists to attend and contribute to a workshop at an international forum. It’s not as though the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting Agency has become the sponsor of Morning Report.

    Hopefully the Iranians will learn something about freedom of speech from the visiting journalists.

    [DPF: The head of the IRIBA blames visiting journalists for manufacturing footage of the death of a young women. DO you really think they are going to use the visiting journalists or learn from them?]

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  8. bustedblonde (138 comments) says:

    looks like a dog , barks like a dog – bugger me its a dog! No matter how you try and spin this it is absolutely appalling. I think that this shows a serious lack of judgement – its tacit support for a corrupt regime that denies freedom of speech. Let alone that this drowns out the cries for RNZ to be free of political taint . Inexcusable.

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  9. Guy Fawkes (702 comments) says:

    Kiwistan.

    Still a bit to go to become part of the Worldwide Caliphate.

    We leave Englandistan next weekend, be great if we could bring a few hundred Immans to help convert you ungodly crew.

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  10. lastmanstanding (1,261 comments) says:

    More likely the 2 jurnos will be become even more convinced that the Iranians are the good guys and we are the bad guys.

    RNZ most certainly gives that impression

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  11. mawm (211 comments) says:

    Can you imagine the howls of outrage from our left wing/progressives/communists if it was Israel instead of Iran.

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  12. TripeWryter (715 comments) says:

    Well TripeWryter, how nice of you to bring clarity to an IRIB sponsorship, forgeting that the IRIB is a full subsidiary of the same islamic revolutionary council which also sponsors Hizbullah, Hamas and other well meaning ABU type organizations.

    Serge:

    All I did was query whether the Iranian broadcaster was organising and paying for all this as David Farrar believed. He replied.

    I went back and checked again the wording of the RNZ skite sheet, as posted by Busted Blonde. I accepted that the placement of a comma could suggest that the Iranians were the sole organisers and bankrollers.

    I went on to say that journalists from this country have gone on junkets to media-unfriendly places for as long as I can remember. I went into journalism in the 60s. It happened then.

    This is not new.

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  13. LeftRightOut (622 comments) says:

    bustedblonde (116) Says:

    February 22nd, 2010 at 1:02 pm
    looks like a dog , barks like a dog – bugger me its a dog! No matter how you try and spin this it is absolutely appalling. I think that this shows a serious lack of judgement – its tacit support for a corrupt regime that denies freedom of speech.

    Hmmm, I thought we were talking about Iran, not about New Zealand’s “Free Trade Agreement” with China.

    Oh, hang on, that wasn’t tacit support for a corrupt regime that denies freedom of speech, it was overt support for a corrupt regime that denies freedom of speech.

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  14. Brian Smaller (4,036 comments) says:

    toad – is there a dictatorship anywhere in the world that you don’t stick up for?

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  15. Johnboy (15,876 comments) says:

    Still looking on the upside they may get a scoop on the arrival of some of these over Tehran:

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/world/middle-east/3357997/Israel-introduces-pilotless-air-fleet

    “The planes can fly at least 20 consecutive hours and are primarily used for surveillance and carrying diverse payloads. ”

    They may even get to report on it depending on
    (a) if the Mullahs let them.
    (b) if the “diverse payloads” don’t involve practical demonstrations of the Teller-Ullam effect.

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  16. MikeNZ (3,234 comments) says:

    mawn
    oh you are so right.

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  17. Manolo (13,517 comments) says:

    “This is sponsorship for two journalists to attend and contribute to a workshop at an international forum.”
    A case of lunatics supporting murderers. F..king unbelievable.

    These cheap journos will accept money from anyone, i.e., North Korea, Cuba, Lybia, Iran, if it advances their despicable cause.

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  18. LeftRightOut (622 comments) says:

    Manolo (1225) Says:

    February 22nd, 2010 at 1:32 pm
    “This is sponsorship for two journalists to attend and contribute to a workshop at an international forum.”
    A case of lunatics supporting murderers. F..king unbelievable.

    These cheap journos will accept money from anyone, i.e., North Korea, Cuba, Lybia, Iran, if it advances their despicable cause.

    Unlike New Zealand that would never accept China taking a 20% in F&P, or buying Crafer Farms, or preventing our democratically elected MP’s displaying a Free Tibet banner, or stop NZ citizens and residents orgainising a protest when Hu visits. You cheap right wingers will take money and roll over for anyone if you think it will line your pockets.

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  19. Chris2 (770 comments) says:

    Of course, if successive NZ Governments properly funded Radio New Zealand’s activities RNZ would not be reliant on handouts from Iran to do its job.

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  20. toad (3,674 comments) says:

    @mawm – Would make no difference to me if it were Israel. Or Fiji. Might draw the line with Zimbabwe, and certainly would have drawn the line with South Africa under apartheid – the difference in that case was that the liberation movement in that country was calling for a cultural boycott of the apartheid regime.

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  21. Russell Brown (405 comments) says:

    The way I read it the conference organisers are the IRIB, and they are the ones paying all the costs. I welcome clarification if that is not the case, but regardless think there is an issue about having a state sponsored enemy of the free press, paying for even part of the costs of RNZ staff

    It’s not true, and you’ve rushed in with an endorsement of a “scoop” written by someone who didn’t even bother to check her “facts”.

    The two RNZ staff members were sponsored by the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union. The sentence in the newsletter was hilariously wrong. End of story.

    And you wonder why people say bad things about blogs.

    [DPF: You blame the blogs, when the error is in fact a Radio NZ publication!!!]

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  22. Bevan (3,965 comments) says:

    Really Russell? Frankly I couldnt give two shits who is paying for these two to attend. No NZ journalist should be attending any official function in Iran with the record they have.

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  23. LeftRightOut (622 comments) says:

    No NZ journalist should be attending any official function in China with the record they have.

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  24. Danyl Mclauchlan (1,066 comments) says:

    Busted Blonde has a great scoop. She has found out two Radio NZ staff members are being sponsored by the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting agency to attend some sort of broadcasting event in Iran.

    According to a friend at RNZ Blonde’s ‘scoop’ is in fact an easily disproved lie. You might want to double-check the facts when you’re dealing with someone as half-witted as Nixon.

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  25. John Barr (3 comments) says:

    Two Radio New Zealand staff members have been invited to take part in an international radio festival and conference in Iran, but the invitation came not from the IRIB organisers but the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union, the umbrella agency for public broadcasting in our region. Our staff are not representing Radio New Zealand, but are attending on behalf of ABU, and if that organisation had not issued the invitation, they would not be attending.

    All the costs of the trip will be reimbursed. No programme-making or gathering of content for air on Radio New Zealand will be done during the attendance at the event.

    John Barr, Communications Manager, Radio New Zealand

    [DPF: Thanks John. Are you able to clarify who is paying for the costs - the APBU or the IRIBA, and if the staff involved are on unpaid (or annual) leave while they are in Iran, or will be paid as per normal?]

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  26. david (2,565 comments) says:

    So Russell, they will be taking annual leave to attend?

    How many israeli journalists will be there given it is for “journalists from all over the Middle East”?

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  27. LeftRightOut (622 comments) says:

    david, perhaps you should ask that question of the organisers, I doubt Russell is one. Or maybe you could make a phone call to Israel, and ask for yourself.

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  28. spector (180 comments) says:

    “According to a friend at RNZ Blonde’s ’scoop’ is in fact an easily disproved lie. You might want to double-check the facts when you’re dealing with someone as half-witted as Nixon.”

    Blonde’s scoop is just a repost of what RNZ have said themselves… so if there is some half-wittedness going on then it’s going on at RNZ.

    The conference is being paid for by the propaganda arm of the iranian government and RNZ journalists are being paid to go. If these things are incorrect then RNZ should clairify.

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  29. Bevan (3,965 comments) says:

    No NZ journalist should be attending any official function in China with the record they have.

    Something tells me, you think I’d disagree….

    Add to the list:
    Burma,
    Cuba,
    Venuzuela,
    North Korea,

    And I’m sure there are many, many more that should be on that list.

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  30. Russell Brown (405 comments) says:

    [DPF: You blame the blogs, when the error is in fact a Radio NZ publication!!!]

    I repeat: a responsible journalist or blogger would simply have checked first.

    Clearly, some person got it muddled in an internal newsletter. That does not absolve you or Busted Blonde from making the most basic inquiry before jumping out with a gotcha based on the original error.

    [DPF: Nonsense. If one can not trust a Radio NZ newsletter, who can you trust. Blogs almost always operate on an assumption that such a source is accurate, and if it turns out not to be, a quick correction. I have yet to hear from anyone official that Iran is not paying incidentally - the comment by Radio NZ was unclear on that point]

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  31. bustedblonde (138 comments) says:

    Everyone seems to have forgotten the fact that the APBU has a relationship with the IRIB. And thanks for calling me half witted – normally i get called brainless – We are improving!

    It is interesting to note that RNZ in the form of John Barr has taken the trouble to clear up any false impressions over Roarprawn and good on him. Note that we published it . Why no statement from the APBU?????

    Is it that they dont want any further attention on the conference??

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  32. Doug (408 comments) says:

    Clearly, some person got it muddled in an internal newsletter.
    Journalists keeping true to form then.

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  33. JC (940 comments) says:

    For me the point is that RNZ staff are being sponsored for this event. That shows there is no particular reason why RNZ should not earn money from sponsorship at home.

    Lets say Fletcher Challenge wanted, for some crass commercial objective, to fund the Concert Programme.. what would be wrong with the announcer stating at the beginning of her programme that it was “sponsored by FC for crass commercial purposes, many thanks to the evil capitalists who have made this possible for their own nefarious purposes” ?

    Or as Laopera puts it:

    Support Us
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    At LA Opera, art intersects Hollywood, celebrities mingle with Los Angeles’ social, political and business elite, and the world’s most famous tenor, Plácido Domingo, presides over it all. If your company is looking for business development/client entertainment, branding, visibility or promotional opportunities, Los Angeles Opera will design a Sponsorship package or Corporate Alliance event to meet your needs.

    SPONSORSHIP

    “LA Opera’s subscribers and patrons are people of superlative taste and discrimination who appreciate an exceptional performance, which is precisely what Audi delivers in its vehicles. We believe this sponsorship is a perfect match”.
    –Maria Nahigian, Sponsorship Manager, Audi of America

    A recent study released by Cone Inc., a Boston consulting company, reports that 81% of Americans are likely to switch to a brand or retailer associated with a good cause, if price and quality are equal. Opera patrons are among the most passionate and loyal audiences, and the brand that helps support their favorite activity will definitely get their attention and earn their loyalty over time.

    LA Opera offers a broad range of sponsorship opportunities from intimate events to opera productions to season long Official Sponsorships. Benefit packages are tailored to each specific opportunity and include the following:

    * Banners/Signage
    * Media (print, radio, TV, outdoor)
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    Sponsorship opportunities range from $10,000 to $500,000, with benefits appropriate to each level.

    For more information on Sponsorship opportunities, please call or email Marlinda Menashe at (213) 972-3129 or mmenashe@laopera.com.

    CORPORATE ALLIANCE

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    CORPORATE ALLIANCE
    benefits include:

    * Assistance in purchasing the best-available tickets to opera performances
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  34. stoliver (16 comments) says:

    Here are a few simple questions. If this is not a staff trip why was it in the internal rnz newsletter?
    Are these two staff members of the apbu themselves or attending because
    Radio New Zealand is a corporate member (yes it is)?
    Was the travel and attendance at the conference , even if in private time, considered
    and approved by Radio New Zealand management as required under the
    company’s conflict of interest policies?
    If the answer to the last question is no have the two staff been disciplined
    for breaching that code?
    Does Zealand consider the IRIB a brother or sister public broadcaster?
    Does RNZ seriously believe this conference will not be used for propoganda
    purposes by the highly questionable regime in Iran?

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  35. Rex Widerstrom (5,342 comments) says:

    Presumably some of the local attendees will be (privately at least) hostile to the existing Iranian regime? Let’s not forget that it’s increasingly blogs, Twitter and the like which are being used to bypass the censorship of despotic regimes… the MSM in those countries are becoming increasingly irrelevant, certainly to international viewers/listeners and, slowly, to locals as well.

    Seems like an excellent opportunity to network with independent Iranian journalists and provide some practical advice and moral support. I’d have jumped at the opportunity for that reason if I were in Paul Bushnell’s and Adam Macaulay’s position.

    Even mixing with the regime-aligned media would have some benefit… “know your enemy”, after all.

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  36. Hurf Durf (2,860 comments) says:

    lol public broadcasting.

    You know, I’m thinking the theory that brainsrightout is billybonkers may be on the money. All we have to do is wait for him to talk about attacking children and it’ll be confirmed.

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  37. minto57 (197 comments) says:

    The place is a Orwellian Farce and why would the RNZ staffers want to be cuddling up to Fascists.
    Do they see a new beggining, someone who wiill lead them to enlightment, someone who free them from the shackles of western thought.Maybe they should take Hone along with them

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  38. Clint Heine (1,570 comments) says:

    Wait wait wait… did Russell Brown try to lecture Farrar on being a “responsible journalist or blogger?”

    WTF?

    Haven’t laughed so much in ages.

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  39. expat (4,048 comments) says:

    Clint, it was obviously an erroneous internal newsletter, move along, nothing to see, no ski trip on the slopes of Mt Burkha planned.

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  40. ephemera (564 comments) says:

    “If one can not trust a Radio NZ newsletter, who can you trust.”

    A radio NZ newsletter isn’t the same as news generated from a newsdesk.

    RB’s point was that you built a narrative without any sort of corroboration. This, in essence, is not ‘acceptable’ journalism. You are simply amplifying a potential error.

    An internal newsletter is a very tenuous source to claim authority on.

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  41. OECD rank 22 kiwi (2,823 comments) says:

    The simply solution is for National to sell off Radio New Zealand. Then the staff of Radio New Zealand can actually be accountable to the commercial interest who becomes the new owner.

    Added bonus, the Government saves some money that can go towards those much needed tax cuts the nations needs and wants.

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