Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Islamabad has reportedly written a letter of objection to Geo News Television Channel.
According to the letter, the content broadcast on Geo News television about the spread of coronavirus in Iran in the program “With Shahzib Khanzadeh” on 26 March 2020 quoted by one of the western TV Channel considered hostile to the Islamic Republic of Iran (BBC) had made false, defamatory and baseless allegations against the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The Embassy, while presenting its compliments to Geo television channel, has strongly denied the allegations and pointed out that broadcasting of such a false and negative content was not in harmony with the good relations between the two countries.
Also, broadcasting of such a misrepresenting, discrediting, and politically-orientated content against a neighbouring country can mislead Pakistani public. And this is bound to produce mistrust and negative feelings against Iran.
Raising charges of secrecy against the Iranian Government appears to be part of destructive programs of some TV Channels which are hostile to the Islamic Republic of Iran, and unfortunately, some Pakistani media outlets have copied and disseminated it without investigating the subject matter and purpose of the source channels.
Iranian Embassy believes that this manner contradicts the principles of professional journalism. Also, that honorable media is expected to avoid publishing materials that would undermine the atmosphere of trust between the two peoples.
Iranian Embassy Explains:
Since the outbreak in China, at the behest of the Honorable Minister of Health on 2020 January 21, a Corona Control Center has been established in the Ministry of Health with 12 sub-committees that monitor interdepartmental activities. On this basis, regular meetings are held daily at the Iranian Ministry of Health and the latest status of the issue is reported publicly at a specific time of day (13:00 hours).
Given the importance of informing and recording detailed statistics on the process of identification, treatment, and public awareness, this action is carried out rapidly and accurately in Iran, in cooperation with the World Health Organization. Also, measures to control the outbreaks across the country have been part of the Iranian National Action Plan since the early days, with the closure of public places such as mosques, holy shrines, schools and training centers, sports clubs, Friday prayers, and so on.
Although the Islamic Republic of Iran was on the verge of holding a crucial parliamentary election, the Iranian government notified the media and the general public as soon as it identified the first case of the virus because public health and compliance with International Health Regulations (IHR), which guarantees international health security, is a top priority for us. Adopting such a policy protects Iran and other countries from the consequences of a lack of timely information and political misuse from the issue.
The Islamic Republic of Iran, in cooperation with the World Health Organization, announces detailed statistics of new virus infections on a regular daily basis. According to the organization, Iran has the capability and equipment to diagnose, control and treat the coronavirus disease. Iran is ready to share its experiences with its brotherly and neighboring nation, Pakistan.
Free media can help their society and the world pass this critical time of pandemic outbreak by receiving and disseminating the strategies and experiences of other countries in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of the disease, but the dissemination of false news and negative propaganda, not only provide any help to contain and control the virus but by diverting public opinion from reality, it will provide the space for opportunism and abuse by the enemies of both nations.
Besides, the program aired on Geo News raises false and defamatory accusations against Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. His Excellency is not only a high-ranking political figure in Iran but also a spiritual leader and a highly respected religious authority (Marja’) who has many followers and imitators around the world, especially in Pakistan.
Since the outbreak of this dangerous virus, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as the sympathetic father of Ummat has repeatedly instructed the nation to pay attention to safety measures, including avoiding unnecessary travel and full compliance with expert health advice. His Excellency sympathizes with the people in this disaster and illness.
Such false accusations are not only completely unjust and unfair but also are considered complicity with the enemies of Islam and Muslims. These enemies seek to strike at the supreme authorities of Islam and prevent the unity and cohesion of Muslims. Spreading false news and accusing this great authority of Shiites in the Muslim country of Pakistan will certainly arouse the religious sentiments of millions of His Excellency’s followers and disciples and negatively affect the viewers of that TV channel.
The Embassy, while reiterating its complements for the media, recalls that the publication of such rumors and biased content is in contrast with the good neighborliness, good relations, and growing cooperation between the two friendly countries, Iran and Pakistan, and hurts public opinion.
The outbreak of the coronavirus is a humanitarian and transboundary crisis and its control needs to inform the public correctly. Therefore, that esteemed and professional television channel is called upon to avoid politicizing a humanitarian issue that concerns human lives.
Rather than referring to biased sources that pursue their political goals and desires amid a humanitarian crisis; it is requested to follow the news, statistics, and information on the spread of the virus exclusively from official, independent and reliable sources such as the World Health Organization, and refrain from spreading untrue rumors and news that may disturb and public opinion and divert the people from the realities.