The Iran National Television station (IranNTV), known as Simay-e Azadi, is holding its 21st telethon to raise funds for its efforts. The telethon runs from January 13-16, 2017. The television station is an independent and ad-free TV station broadcasting 24 hours a day via satellite in Europe and the Middle East. Individuals can also view the channel via the Internet in the United States and Canada, as well as throughout the Middle East, Australia and Europe.
Reporters and journalists for IranNTV have faced prison and torture for their work inside Iran, as the regime attempts to crack down on this media voice outside of the state-run broadcasting and news outlets.
Those who participate in supporting the telethon risk prison and even execution for their contributions to this alternative voice to the Iranian state TV. Despite the current economic situation, individual Iranians have been calling non-stop and announcing their contributions to the pledge drive. Participating in the telethon involves big risks, especially those that are currently in prison for speaking out against the regime.
Those who are being held in Gohardasht Prison have sent a message of support for IranNTV, stating, “This media, with minimum facilities, strong, stable and immediately has broadcast real news without interruption and has brought the righteous and justice seeking voice of the various segments of Iranian society, including workers, teachers, nurses, students, homeless, grave sleepers, those who sell their body parts to earn some money to survive, the doubly oppressed ethnic and religious minorities, and also our voice, the voice of political prisoners in the notorious dungeons of the regime, to the attention of the Iranian people and the world…For this reason, we urge our honorable people to support Simay Azadi in any form and to any extent they can. In this regard, we prisoners dedicate one month of our food ration, which amounts to 500 thousand Tomans, towards this cause to have a small share in assisting Simay Azadi in their fund raising.”
The telethon is taking donations via the Internet (Iranntv.com) as well and encouraging individuals to donate and then share this information with friends and colleagues. IranNTV is accepting one-time donations, as well as regular monthly donations.
The regime sees the broadcasting done by IranNTV as a threat and has used strong jamming signals to limit access to the station within Iran. The security forces have prohibited satellite dishes and have confiscated the dishes when they are found. These attempts to repress a voice of resistance reaching out to the Iranian people has not been successful, as the station continues to broadcast and increase its viewership.
“We all want freedom of the press and the media to reflect all news and developments as they are…In Iran, we need a free media to be the voice of the people of Iran and the region at a time when the Iranian regime is thoroughly filtering the country’s news and brutally repressing independent journalism. Although Iran stands on an ocean of oil, corruption and destructive government policies have condemned many of the country’s people to absolute poverty. Some 7,500 find no shelter from the freezing cold, other than cemeteries and open graves,” said IranNTV in a statement regarding the pledge drive. “People of the region and the world need a media to reflect the news about the religious extremists who exploit and destroy innocent lives to achieve their political goals in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and elsewhere.”
The TV station has received its financial support from donors among the Iranian people and foreigners. As a result, they have also been able to continue reporting about events happening in Iran, keeping those Iranians living outside of the country informed about the current situation. Watching IranNTV is a crime within Iran, but it remains a popular channel because it is a message of hope for a free future for the Iranian people. They can see the efforts of the resistance and the international efforts be waged on their behalf.
IranNTV sees its duties as being primarily the voice of the suppressed and censored people of Iran to the outside world, particularly by broadcasting protests and demonstrations taking place inside Iran. They also cover human rights violations, including arbitrary arrests, torture and the executions of political advocates in the prisons and in public. These broadcasts show that the regime does not have the widespread support of the Iranian people, as various members of the regime leadership have claimed. As part of their recent coverage, IranNTV has also broadcast the Iranian regime’s interference in Syria and the plight of the Syrian people, thus keeping the Iranian informed of international and regional events.
Additionally, IranNTV seeks to educate the next generation of Iranians about their culture, history, music, art and build a deeper understanding of their rich multi-layered society. They also reach the population of Iran, demonstrating how the views of the Resistance are a viable option to the regime’s current tactics and oppressive style of governing.