Search Results

Restricted Access

Gholam Khiabany and Sreberny Annabelle

Abstract

While de-Westernisation is an interesting political intervention in media theory, analytically it offers little. We critique this approach through six inter-related arguments. The first point of critique challenges the putative singularity of the West. The second line of enquiry raises questions about the emergence of new academic disciplines and their intellectual offerings. Our third point is that the call to de-Westernise Media Studies is naïve, ignores history and the long patterns of global interconnectedness that have mutually formed the West/Rest. The fourth argument is that “de-Westernisation” suggests that the theory and methods of Media Studies offer nothing of use outside their original birthplaces, while the fifth argument is the conceptual danger of nativism. The sixth critique centres on the problem of essentialising culture as a determinate object. Examining the contemporary media practices of the Islamic Republic of Iran, we suggest that the true alternative to a repressive theocracy is its internal challenge by women, students and other parts of civil society that offers a critical third way beyond the binary divide.

Restricted Access

Annabelle Sreberny and Massoumeh Torfeh

Abstract

This paper traces the history of BBC World Service (BBCWS) broadcasts to Afghanistan and the political struggles that led to the establishment of a Pashto language service to complement BBC broadcasting in Persian. The complex linguistic, ethnic, and tribal diversity of Afghanistan makes providing appropriate and relevant news, and an information service in the right language, accent, and idiom for Afghanistan, a daunting task. The paper analyzes the relationship between the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the BBC, and the impetus behind the launch of a Pashto service for Afghans. It also explores the tensions between providing impartial news and engaging in communications for development purposes.

Restricted Access

Annabelle Sreberny and Massoumeh Torfeh

Abstract

This paper is the second part of a work in progress that examines the impact of seventy years of BBC Persian broadcasts to Iran. The Persian Service, established in December 1940, was originally set up by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) as one of thirty-eight language services broadcasting to strategically important areas of the world during World War Two. The first piece of research looked at three historic moments when the influence of BBC Persian broadcasts was hotly debated: the toppling of the pro-German Shah of Iran, Reza Pahlavi, in 1941; the late 1940s, when Iran's nationalist leader, Mohammad Mossadeq, championed oil nationalization and challenged the rights hitherto enjoyed by the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company; and the US-led coup of 1953 that returned the young Mohammad Reza Pahlavi to the throne. The present research focuses on a period that many Iranians consider the most influential in terms of all BBC broadcasts to Iran. The BBC Persian Service (BBCPS) became a household name during 1978, the year leading up to the revolution of 11 February 1979. Many Iranians at home and abroad tuned in to hear the latest news and developments, even as the Shah of Iran accused the BBC of fomenting revolution, an argument echoed thirty years later in the responses of the Islamic Republic to the launch of the new Persian television channel in January 2009. The research shows clearly how difficult it had become for the FCO to uphold the independence of the BBC and support their closest friend in the region when he believed that the British government must be in charge. There was indeed heated debate and discussion inside the Foreign Office as to whether Britain was sacrificing its long-term interests by allowing the BBC to continue its broadcasts when even the British ambassador in Tehran was suggesting the service should be closed down.

Restricted Access

Gerd Baumann, Marie Gillespie and Annabelle Sreberny

Restricted Access

Annabelle Sreberny, Marie Gillespie and Gerd Baumann