By Marzieh Hashemi
In 2003, I was living in the United States, as the war drums were beating in that country because of alleged weapons of mass destruction that a Saddam Hussein led Iraq was supposed to have possessed. Those who were politically aware of methods used by Washington to get into wars, saw how the propaganda was building up to a crescendo to justify the US’s bombardment and invasion of a sovereign country, Iraq.
The war started on March 19, 2003. This was despite mass protests held in the United States and other countries protesting against it, but to no avail. As the mainstream media was announcing the countdown to the war, as if a major football game was about to start, I kept searching for some alternative voices to this MSM narrative.
I could not find an alternative media perspective that gave me a full analysis of the situation. I had lived in the Middle East for years and I knew how the MSM could taint the image of the region and those living in it very easily. Thus, I wanted to hear something from the perspective of the Iraqi people themselves. Unfortunately, I did not see or hear any, at least not in English. I thought how good it could have been if the perspective and analysis coming from Iran would have been heard in English about the onslaught that was taking place on its neighboring country. But that was not to be.
However, fast forward four years to 2007, when I received a call from Press TV inviting me to join the network. I was excited about the possibilities and encouraged that Iran realized the importance of having an international English TV network. Neither the salary nor amenities could match what international American networks offered, but Press TV could give me so much more. It was an opportunity to play a role in giving a voice to the voiceless, just as its slogan says. It was a challenge of standing up for the underdog and it was the possibility of challenging the mainstream media. The majority of the MSM is owned by billionaires or multinational corporations and the narrative these stations push is in favor of their owners, the one percent. Press TV was and is about possibilities of what can happen when the people have a voice.
From its initial stages up until now, fourteen years later, Press TV has been attacked, demonized, censored, sanctioned, blocked and just about every other technique possible has been used against it to prevent its messages from being broadcasted. From Press TV being taken off of main satellites, to its social media platforms being blocked to posts being deleted to actually having its website SEIZED by the US government! As unbelievable as this is due to the amount of money the hegemony spends on its own media, one would think that Washington and its European cousins and Persian Gulf puppets would be confident enough, due to the amount of money they spend, as well as political support it gets to not be very concerned about Press TV. However, the opposite is true. As more independent voices are being heard, the MSM has less control over the narrative and as its influence wanes, it reaches out with a vengeance to those entities which have wounded it.
Press TV, like its sponsor, the Islamic Republic of Iran, despite all the restrictions and attacks, continues to go full force ahead. The narrative of the plutocracy is no longer easily accepted by the masses and there is a greater desire for those in search of the truth to seek out alternative media. And because of this reality, these entities representing the elite, feel more threatened now than ever and will do whatever they can to silence alternative views.
Despite all the obstacles, limitations and defamation, Press TV is celebrating its 14th anniversary. It continues to be the “voice of the voiceless”. And it continues to be a source of pride for so many of us who are part of the Press family, that we too can play our part in disseminating information and reflecting the truth.
There is no doubt that Press will continue to find ways to get its message out. We hope that the network will thrive and will accurately reflect the reality of the oppressed and can continue to play an important role in the resistance front and resisting hegemony. Happy 14th Press TV!
Marzieh Hashemi is a Tehran-based American journalist, political analyst, and a newscaster and host at Press TV.