Sunday, September 16, 2007

Administration Publishes False Report, Yet Again

Mr. Ali Akbar Javanfekr, Ahmadinejad’s advisor for media affairs, has said interesting things lately. For instance, he said that the current administration works 52 times as much as the previous ones. No one of course knows where the figure 52 came from

Apparently, under Ahmadinejad’s rule, his advisors feel they have a free hand in making up any numbers in boasting the performance of the administration. For example, in its midterm performance report, the administration claims that the president and his foreign minister have traveled to “more than one hundred Muslim nations.” In reality, one hundred Muslim nations do not exist in the world. Furthermore, the president and his advisors have not traveled to half that number of countries (Muslim or non-Muslim).

The President’s advisors write in the report, “This president is the only one in history who has traveled to all the Iranian cities and has met with all the Iranian people.” But the president’s travels have been to only a fraction of all Iranian cities, and his meetings there have been limited to a few select individuals.

The important task of Ahmadinejad’s advisors must be to convince the president and his staff to stop providing false information, and to stop using adjectives such as “the best,” “the most,” etc., before the president becomes the subject of even more public jokes. For instance, when the president becomes arrogant after seeing a group of people coming out to see him in some small village, his advisors must tell him that the locals have always behaved like this when seeing a government official, and secondly, that those who have come to visit the president do not comprise the area’s “entire” population.

But Ahmadinejad’s advisors do not do that. On the contrary, they constantly attack the press for being pessimistic about their claims.

Mr. Javanfekr, for instance, has also made a strange discovery. He said that publications which are critical to the government are being paid off by Shahram Jazayeri [multi-millionaire convicted of fraud]. To prove his point, Mr. Javanfekr has asked, where were all these reporters when Shahram Jazayeri was on trial? To answer him, I want to use a story from Khrushchev.

In the Twentieth Congress, the Secretary General of the Communist Party began criticizing Stalin, and while no one was breathing in the Politburo, Khrushchev continued, until he finally heard a voice was from the corner of the room. One person asked, where were you back then? He meant, why didn’t you say anything while Stalin was alive? Khrushchev asked, who was it? No one responded. He asked again, who was it that asked where I was? No one raised his hand. He asked a third time and didn’t get a response. Then he said, I was where you are now.

Now, this is the story of Iranian newspapers. If Iranian journalists felt secure inside Iran, they would have published thousands of things that they knew about Shahram Jazayeri and his connection to centers of power. But, back then, they were where they are now when the administration publishes false reports. Journalists will leave that kind of investigative reporting to a time when they are a little more immune from government coercion and oppression.