Ahmadinejad takes the Queen's throne on British TV
In an original take on Britain's traditional Christmas speech from the Queen, Britain's Channel 4 decided to ask Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to convey a message instead. Presented as an "alternative view" by the channel and received as an example of freedom of speech by many, the UK government, on the other hand, has condemned the speech. Read more...
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In an original take on Britain's traditional Christmas speech from the Queen, Britain's Channel 4 decided to ask Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to convey a message instead. Presented as an "alternative view" by the channel and received as an example of freedom of speech by many, the UK government, on the other hand, has condemned the speech.
Channel 4 watchers are used to receiving their Christmas message from unusual characters. In previous years the honour has been given to Brigitte Bardot, Marge Simpson and gay icon Quentin Crisp. But this year's choice from the major commercial channel caused so much trouble that it was moved to a different time slot than the Queen's, which is shown on other channels at 3pm. On Thursday the broadcast was condemned by Britain's Foreign Office, who said that it would "cause offence and bemusement not just at home but amongst friendly countries abroad".
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"Ahmadinejad seems to be very interested in reprising his traditional adversary role"
Joel Schalit is an Israeli writer living in London.
By not being too offensive, Ahmadinejad seems to be very interested in reprising his traditional adversary role. I had wondered what kind of opposition he would be taking as Obama comes into power and considering all the noise that's been coming out of Iran in the last few weeks, I was quite surprised with the speech.
I think it was partly for an internal, Iranian audience, but also included messages for the US and Israel.
The negative reaction [from Israel, the US and Britain], is very predictable. The British government is concerned of being too critical of Islam has been the biggest bone of contention between Britain and Israel, so they were forced to condemn the speech. It's all part of the game. On the Iranian side the anti-Israel perspective has been dealt in bargaining with the US, and on the Israeli side they need the Iranians in order to complain. They'll use this event as an opportunity to recycle those complaints."
"It is a good thing that Hitler is dead, Ms Byrne would probably invite him to give Channel 4's Easter message"
Sammy Benoit posted this on his blog, Yid with a Lid.
Why is England's Channel 4 hosting a Christmas message from the Warmongering purveyor of hatred, Islamofascist Iranian President Ahmadinejad.(...) If Christ were on earth today, you [Ahmadinejad] and your Islamic terrorist buddies would probably try to blow him up.
Dorothy Byrne, Channel 4's head of news and current affairs said: "we are offering our viewers an insight into an alternative world view." ALTERNATE WORLD VIEW???? Sure, his Alternate view is Kill the Jews, Kill the Gays, Women should be subservient and western society should be destroyed. This is just another example of the growing acceptability of Anti-Semitism in British Society. It is a good thing that Hitler is dead, Ms Byrne would probably invite him to give Channel 4's Easter message. (...) She has dishonored Christmas, her Queen, and spread hatred throughout the world with her stations idiotic decision."
"An editorial [decision] based on free-speech, but perhaps more importantly the negation of normative judgements"
David Berry is a lecturer in freedom of the press and journalism ethics. He writes for the blog Fifth-Estate-Online. His most recent book is Journalism, Ethics and Society (Ashgate 2008).
Channel 4's decision to air an alternative Christmas message by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad met with predicable response in some quarters of the British press. The Daily Mail (December 26th 2008) chose to use mainly Israeli governmental sources to highlight how offensive the message was, further stating, and highlighted in black bold type, that the speech was 'A sick and twisted irony'. On the other hand The Independent produced a more sobering account stating in their leading article on the same day that Ahmadinejad's message was less virulent than the attacks on the corruption in the capitalist banking industry by the Archbishop of York and other Anglican leaders. For what it is worth, the message by the Iranian President was highly conciliatory in tone and perhaps a hand of friendship towards the incoming President of the USA, one Barack Obama, who pledged to open a dialogue with the Iranian 'outcasts'. There's nothing remotely offensive about the speech and ultimately the decision to run it was rightly an editorial one based on free-speech, but perhaps more importantly the negation of normative judgements. In fact, if I were to complain it wouldn't be targeted towards the fact that Ahmadinejad was allowed the platform in the first place but rather as a devout atheist, it would be against his unconvincing references to some divine figure called God!"