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Iran: New Farsi Service Aims To Present Balanced Information

By Shahran Tabari

Prague, 30 October 1998 (RFE/RL) -- The following is a transcript of an interview with RFE/RL President Thomas Dine on the new broadcast service to Iran. The interviewer is Shahran Tabari of the new Farsi Service.

Q: Mr. Dine, how would you describe the aims and objectives of the new Farsi broadcasting service?

A: The goal, the major goal, of our Farsi broadcast service is to provide balanced, factual information. That's the definition of objectivity -- balanced, factual information. In doing so, we will provide news and information of interest to the Iranian people. This will be news and information about what is taking place within Iranian society as well as the areas around Iran, and international news that affects all of us as citizens of the globe. That means we're gonna have a variety of opinions, and a variety of opinions comes back to the definition of balance. We want to hear all points of view, we want to air those points of view -- government, non-government, opposition, academic. Hopefully we can achieve our objective.

Q: How will this service be any different from the other international broadcasting organizations that already broadcast Farsi programs to Iran?

A: The Farsi programs of RFE/RL will not be the voice of any government. We are not under the heel of any government. We do not broadcast propaganda now to the many countries of Central-Eastern Europe and Eurasia. Our job is to provide a public affairs service to our listeners -- what is taking place in their own societies, what is taking place in the world at large. We're not trying to overthrow any government, we're not trying to break up any country. We're only trying to provide news and information, so that citizens can have the wherewithal, the tools, to make their own decisions.

Q: For many months before this broadcasting service was even organized and ready to go on the air, many people both inside and outside Iran apparently made up their minds that we are going to have hostile aims and objectives. The Iranian government, for example, had accused us of bad intentions. How would you answer such critics and reassure them about our aims?

A: I come from an upbringing which says, judge me for what I do, not by what you think I may or may not do. RFE/RL will try to provide, over the weeks and months and years ahead, thoroughly researched, factually-based information -- news of the day that is affecting the lives of the Iranian people. Only in time will the Iranian government and others judge us, and I hope they judge us fairly by what we do, not by what they think we will do or will not do.

Q: President Khatami has often expressed support for the idea of dialogue between civilizations. In what way do you think RFE/RL can contribute to this very positive statement?

A: I agree with what President Khatami has said -- dialogue between peoples, among a variety of peoples, dialogue between governments and among a variety of governments. Again, RFE/RL's objective in its Farsi language service is to make sure that there is a free flow of factual news, factually-based opinions, and the ideas that can stir the imaginations for a more peaceful world.