This morning, an Iranian-based website entitled “Young Journalists Club,” whose slogan reads, “The Largest Persian Language News Agency In the World,” published an article with the following headline: “When the Veils of Deception are Rent Asunder: Membership in the Misguided Sect of ‘Bahaism’ as a Chief Condition of Employment with a Document Enclosed as Proof”
The Article goes on to introduce a UK based website named ManoTo (“You and I”) and notes that the efforts of its editors, who are directly financed by the “Royal Elements,” are to work under the guise of promoting culture and social values. The “Young Journalists Club” alleges that it has uncovered the true intentions of this UK based site, which is to promote “Zionist, Bahai, and anti-Iranian” propaganda. The Iranian site presents a “document” which appears to be a screen capture of a job posting from the UK website as proof.
Upon examining the website, it immediately becomes apparent that it has committed several major gaffes and repeatedly violated basic rules of journalism:
1. Unbiased journalism would dictate that the article be free from judgments and allow the readership to draw its own conclusions. The title includes a reference to the “Misguided Bahai Sect,” which from the outset is not becoming of proper journalism by using inflammatory adjectives in reference to Iran’s largest religious minority.
2. The purported “job posting” screen capture enumerates the conditions of employment. The second condition is a “firm belief in the holy religion of Bahaism.” Members of the Bahai faith never refer to their religion with this terminology. They neither use “holy” as an adjective nor “Bahaism.” Instead, “Bahai faith” or “Bahai religion” are used. Only anti-Bahai propaganda uses “Bahaism” in its vocabulary.
3. The third and fourth conditions of employment are “The women’s choice of clothing will be left to the management” and “The applicants must be against the Islamic Republic of Iran,” respectively. This reveals how unfamiliar biased Iranian journalists are with Western journalism and laws governing Western countries. Any news agency or employer whose job posting may appear to discriminate on the basis of political ideology, gender, type of clothing, or religion of the applicants would immediately be investigated and is at risk of losing its business license under Equal Opportunity laws. If the Iranian journalists wish to fabricate documents, they are best advised to make such “smoking gun” proofs more believable.
4. While the Iranian site shares a screen capture of the alleged job posting, they fail to provide the URL or link to the actual UK site. Proper journalism must be well referenced or it is devoid of value. A Google search for a string of words contained in the job posting yielded no results. Even if they allege the URL was taken down, it would have still been searchable under cached documents in any search engine.
5. Most importantly, the screen capture, which has the mid section as the job posting and two ad and link columns on each side, is certainly doctored. The job posting section in the middle clearly has a different image resolution than the two columns that flank it. This is simply proven by zooming in on the image and noticing the pixel pattern of the columns of the two sides is different than the doctored mid-section. If this image were a true screen capture, its resolution would be consistent throughout.
The Iranian government has detained, tried, or charged hundreds of Bahais on vague accusations of “spreading corruption on earth, acting against national security, founding of an illegal university, and membership in an illegal sect.” To date, after exceeding 10,000 combined days of imprisonment for Iran’s Bahais, the Islamic Republic has failed to produce any evidence or document linking this sorely tried minority community in Iran to any activity that would justify the heavy sentences, arrests, harassments, banishments, and shutting down of Bahai owned businesses. Now, the government has resorted to fabricating and disseminating its own “evidence” implicating the Bahais.
It appears that history is repeating itself, that when the domestic difficulties escalate, the Iranian government looks for distractions to blame Zionists, Bahai operatives, and the all encompassing “the West” as colluding against its National Security. This “othering” and denigrating of members of the Bahai community as scapegoats will then be a way to distract the public and continue to justify the current policies.
The Islamic Republic in reality has failed to win the hearts and minds in portraying the Bahais as outsiders. Their approach has only had one severe consequence: Showing the world their version of Islamic Justice as being utterly unjust.
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