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Centre for Iranian Studies

Persian Service: The BBC and British Interests in Iran

THIS EVENT IS ARCHIVED
Persian Service
Annabelle Sreberny, SOAS and Massoumeh Torfeh, SOAS

Date: 13 May 2014Time: 5:30 PM

Finishes: 13 May 2014Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College BuildingsRoom: Khalili Lecture Theatre

Type of Event: Book Launch

The authors Annabelle Sreberny and Massoumeh Torfeh will be joined by Behrouz Afagh, Head of Middle East and West/Central Asia, BBC World; Ali Ansari, Director of the Institute for Iranian Studies, University of St Andrews; and John Downing, Southern Illinois University in a panel discussion to mark the publication of Persian Service: The BBC and British Interests in Iran (IB Tauris, 2014). Chair: Dina Matar, SOAS. 

Followed by a reception and book signing at 6.30pm.

The BBC Persian Service was initially developed in 1940 to prepare and broadcast British war-time propaganda. And it has since been seen by many in Iran as an integral part of British policy-making in the region. Thirty years ago, the Shah of Iran regarded the BBC Persian Service radio as his 'enemy number one' and held it responsible for promoting the revolution of 1979. Only a couple decades earlier, the BBC Persian Service was widely accused for having been complicit in the CIA-led 1953 coup against Prime Minister Mohammad Musaddiq. And a decade earlier, the BBC Persian Service was strongly linked to the British-planned removal of Reza Shah in 1941.

In Persian Service: The BBC and British Interests in Iran Annabelle Sreberny and Massoumeh Torfeh track the history of the BBC Persian Service, critically analysing both the assumptions that the BBC is a standard bearer for objective reporting and representations of it as a simple tool of Western interests. Also examining the history of relations between the Foreign Office and the BBC Persian Service, they demonstrate that these have never been pre-defined or rigid. Instead, they explore how both institutions have moved from an interest in what can crudely be called state-orchestrated 'propaganda' to a more subtle advocacy of fair and balanced journalism as the best agent of British values and influence.

Annabelle Sreberny is Professor of Global Media and Communications in the Centre for Media and Film Studies at SOAS. Massoumeh Torfeh is Research Associate in the Centre for Media and Film Studies at SOAS. She was previously a senior producer for the BBC World Service.

Organiser: Centre for Iranian Studies

Contact email: vp6@soas.ac.uk

Contact Tel: 020 7898 4330 / 4490