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Page last updated at 16:20 GMT, Saturday, 11 October 2003 17:20 UK

Iranian media split on Nobel

Iranian press review graphic

The award of the Nobel Peace Prize to Iranian human rights campaigner Shirin Ebadi has sparked some sharp comment in the Iranian media.

State-owned radio and television were slow to report the news and kept their coverage to a bare minimum, but reaction in the press was divided along standard conservative and reformist lines.

Anger

Hardliners' dissatisfaction at the award was reflected in comment in Jomhuri-ye Eslami.

The paper said it was "noteworthy" that Ms Ebadi "had a file in Iranian courts", adding: "She is an ex-convict."

The prize would never have been given to Ebadi without taking into consideration the views of Americans and their express wishes
Iranian Students News Agency

"It has been said that the aforementioned person has maintained contacts with organisations outside the country under the pretext of supporting human rights and children's rights.

She has been involved in activities against the Islamic republican state of Iran under the pretext of the aforementioned activities," it commented.

The editor of the conservative newspaper Entekhab, cleric Taha Hashemi, suggested that the committee had an ulterior motive in awarding the prize to Ms Ebadi.

In an interview with the Iranian Students News Agency ISNA he said: "Unfortunately, we can see that certain currents of opinion, as well as those who have ulterior political motives, are trying to impose their views even on institutions which should not be politicised at all."

"The prize would never have been given to Ebadi without taking into consideration the views of Americans and their express wishes," he continued.

Upbeat

The prize has only doubled her responsibilities in terms of defending human rights and democracy"
Etemaad

By contrast, Iran's reformist newspapers ran the story in a factual but approving way, homing in on comment highlighting Ms Ebadi's "bravery and frankness".

Etemaad said the award was "the top news story in the world."

"The Nobel Prize Committee has explicitly asserted that Ebadi is a brave person who has never taken any notice of the threats to her own life," it added.

The paper also quoted the winner herself as saying the prize "had only doubled her responsibilities in terms of defending human rights and democracy".

Taking a similar line, Mardom-Salari quoted the Nobel committee as saying Ms Ebadi "has always expressed her views candidly".

Iran quoted Ms Ebadi as saying: "This prize does not just belong to me, but it belongs to all the freedom-loving people who are working for democracy, freedom and human rights in Iran."

Slow response

State-owned Iranian television did not cover the award until its early evening news bulletin on Friday - more than six hours after the news was announced. And then the report consisted of only two sentences and was buried in the 'News in Brief' section.

The report on the main evening news bulletin two hours later topped the "Cultural and Scientific News" section but was only a little longer.

It highlighted Ms Ebadi's work "in the field of children's rights".

Iranian radio broadcast similarly short, factual reports.

By Saturday, the award appeared to have dropped off the broadcast news agenda completely.

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.



SEE ALSO
Country profile: Iran
15 Sep 03 |  Country profiles
Nobel winner's plea to Iran
10 Oct 03 |  Middle East
Profile: Shirin Ebadi
27 Nov 09 |  Middle East
Nobel choices prompt joy and anger
10 Oct 03 |  Middle East

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