Sun, Oct 30, 2011 | The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center
Iran: Green Movement’s media on verge of bankruptcy
Rah-e Sabz (“The Green Path”, Jaras), the official website of the reformist opposition, which operates outside of Iran, published a special announcement this week asking Iranians for urgent financial assistance to keep the website online. An announcement published on behalf of the Political Council of the Green Path said that, unless urgent and constant assistance is secured by November 15, the website will be forced to shut down.
According to the announcement, the Jaras website is on the verge of a severe budget deficit, and the difficult conditions facing its operators make it impossible for the website to remain online. In its announcement, the council stressed that the principles on which the website operates prevent its owners from accepting assistance from foreign countries, and that increasing suppression from the Iranian authorities has eliminated the option of relying on funds transferred by Iranians residing in Iran. Accordingly, Iranian citizens who reside abroad are asked to volunteer to save the website and donate money to keep it online (Jaras, October 22).
The activity of the official Green Movement website began in July 2009, shortly after the outbreak of the riots that began after the presidential elections in Iran.
At the same time, RASA TV, a channel used by the reformist opposition, admitted that it is likewise facing a severe economic crisis that threatens its ability to remain operational. Reformist activists claimed that the Iranian authorities succeeded in stopping the flow of funds from Iran to Europe, on which the channel depended for its operation, and even in tracking down and blocking some of RASA TV’s information sources in Iran.
An article published on the Jaras website this week said that RASA TV is essential for the ongoing operation of the reformist movement given the severe limitations imposed by the Iranian authorities on the activity of non-government media. According to the author of the article, RASA is an alternative, independent information source that can make the voice of Iranians heard at a time when the government broadcasting authority enjoys a total monopoly on the media. Iranians residing in Iran and elsewhere were called to mobilize through the station’s website or Facebook and donate as much as they can to keep RASA in operation (Jaras, October 20).
The conservative media was satisfied to report the economic distress of the reformist media. The daily Keyhan reported the “bankruptcy of the green media in London and Paris”, arguing that this is yet another example of the reformist movement’s defeat. The daily reported that the Jaras website has been in a state of total stasis for the past several months, and even lost its credibility with the public by releasing wrong, false information on happenings in Iran. The daily made mocking comments about the claims brought forward by the website that its operators do not receive financial assistance from foreign countries, arguing that top anti-regime activists behind the activity of Europe-based reformist media get millions of dollars’ worth of financial assistance from American and Western elements (Keyhan, October 23).