Iran state TV chief fires two key managers to tighten his grip on news

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Two days after Iran International TV revealed in an investigative television report that the new chief of Iran’s state television had fired two top managers, media in Tehran confirmed the news on Wednesday.

The two fired managers are Abdolreza Bavali the head of the state TV’s rolling news channel and Mehrdad Seyedmehdi the head of the state television’s newsroom, aka, IRIB News Agency. Bavali was fired after “undermining” new state TV chief Payman Jebelli’s “success” in changing the broadcaster’s secretive approach to sensitive news and its censorship of developments that had been already leaked on social media.

The state TV, officially called the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Broadcasting Organization (IRIB) operates under Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s direct supervision and its CEO is appointed by him every five years.

Jebelli’s change of approach has been observed at least during three recent developments. Unlike past practice of censoring sensitive news about regime officials, IRIB broadcast the video of an IRGC general being slapped in the face during his inauguration ceremony as the governor general of East Azarbaijan Province. The broadcaster also covered a controversy about the appointment of a son-in-law of Tehran’s mayor as his deputy and the nationwide disruption of an electronic system in Iran’s gas stations.

Jebelli took pride in bringing about the changes ina special edition of the state TV’s daily newspaper Jam-e Jam which dedicated several pages in which media experts and professionals praised his performance. Subsequently, Bavali released an audio that undermined Jebelli’s performance and said what he did was nothing new.

Bavali later sent out another audio clip in which he said Jebelli was infuriated after he listened to the first audio file. He also said that he was not able to convince Jebelli that he was right, and he did not mean to undermine Jebelli’s decision. He added that he knew he was going to be replaced sooner or later.

Mehrdad Seyedmehdi was fired after he undermined the importance of broadcasting the news about the gas stations in an October 31 tweet in which he said there were more important developments on that day to be covered by the network.

Meanwhile, Seyedmehdi addressed Iran International in another tweet on 1 November and said the change of management at the Iranian state TV was “a family matter.”

The Iran International report had assessed the development as a move to enforce Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s new media strategy, which has been trumpeted, but few know what exactly it is. Khabar online in its assessment of the development, which was released as a video report, called it “The state TV chief’s Overnight onslaught against the 30-year-old system of news dissemination” at the organization.

According to Khabar Online, the change that was made overnight on November 2 was expected since Jebelli took office in late September. The report opined that “now the system is unified and is totally under Jebelli’s control. The report added that the new state TV Chief can apply his own development plan which will turn the national broadcaster into “a single news dissemination system.”

Khabar Online further explained that the offices of the political deputy, the state TV newsroom, and the rolling news channel will be merged to create one single organization that puts an end to the three organization’s separate operations.

Jebelli’s declared mission is to return the nation’s lost trust in the IRIB. The Broadcaster has been losing its viewers since 2009 and particularly after the 2017 presidential election and the latest poll conducted in Iran said the state TV’s popularity dropped by another 15 percent between March and September 2021.

Source » iranintl

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