Voice of America criticied for anti-Americanism

By: Sara Rajabova

The Voice of America radio, tasked with promoting American values and views around the world has come under recent criticism for alleged pro-Iranian bias and cozy ties to the anti-American ruling regime in Tehran.

The U.S. Congress called for an investigation into the Voice of America’s Persian language news service, according to a letter sent recently to Secretary of State John Kerry, the Washington Free Beacon newspaper reported.

The call from Congress for an investigation into these alleged practices comes just a month after the Washington Free Beacon revealed that VOA’s Persian News Network had banned from the network a prominent Iranian opposition member and placed him on a so-called “black list” after he attacked Iran’s ruling regime for sponsoring terrorism.

“We are concerned that this network, which is meant to promote freedom and democracy through objective news and information, may have harmed instead of helped the plight of Iranians seeking to claim their human rights,” the U.S. lawmakers said.

Lawmakers and Iranian dissidents have long accused PNN of producing sympathetic coverage of the Iranian regime and blacklisting prominent Iranian opposition voices from appearing on the air.

Nine U.S. lawmakers demanded that the Department of State to launch formal investigation into potential mismanagement at PNN.

“We have received complaints from our Iranian-American constituents that VOA-PNN programs have neglected to adequately cover the abysmal situation of human rights violations in Iran, particularly the alarming and dramatic rise in executions,” the lawmakers said in a letter to Kerry.

PNN critics, including former staffers and guests, have discussed systematic corruption at the network that includes a policy of censoring those who criticize the regime and those who may reveal information damaging to the network’s senior officials, some of whom have had ties to the Iranian regime, according to the Washington Free Beacon.

Banafsheh Zand, an Iranian political analyst and human rights activist said she was also blacklisted by VOA.

“I have been one of the journalists and analysts, who has been on the black list of the VOA for years…and I have found them to be seriously unprofessional, not to mention selective in their employment records, etc.,” Zand told AzerNews.

This not the only case of VOA’s biased approach towards some issues. Recently, Azerbaijan has strongly condemned the VOA for a documentary film about Azerbaijan’s occupied region of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry said the program prepared by the Voice of America ​​about the so-called regime in the occupied territories promotes separatism and aggression.

The program, which doesn’t take into account and doesn’t reflect the position of the Azerbaijani community of Nagorno-Karabakh, as well as refugees and internally displaced persons who were expelled from their native lands as a result of the Armenian aggression, is unfair and biased, according to the ministry.


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