25 دی 1393

How Iranian media reported Charlie Hebdo shootings

15 January 2015

Translated by:Mehrdad Safa

Khabarnegaran.info –Saba Etemad: The deadly terrorist attack on Paris headquarters of Charlie Hebdo weekly newspaper was given a relatively wide coverage by Iranian newspapers, though their reportage was different from world media.

Some newspapers only published the news that 12 people were killed in an attack on the satirical newspaper, and some looked into the reasons behind the incident from their own political viewpoint without even denouncing the attack or expressing sympathy; as if it was an opportunity for right-wing media to censure the West for Islamophobia and accuse it of sponsoring terrorism.

Interestingly, all newspapers have ignored the identity of victims, including four cartoonists and editor of the satirical newspaper whose names and photos appeared on the Internet and world media – a willful act of ignoring the facts.

On Wednesday, January 7, 2015, five masked gunmen attacked Paris headquarters of Charlie Hebdo weekly newspaper. Among the dead were four of the most renowned French cartoonists: Georges Wolinski, Jean Cabut (Cabu), Bernard Verlhac (Tignous) and Stephane Charbonnier (Charb). According to witnesses and police statements, the massacre took place in the form of execution. Terrorists had entered the building at time of editorial staff meeting and asked journalists to introduce themselves before being slaughtered. Police report indicates that terrorists were armed with Kalashnikov rifles and RPG rockets. A video showing minutes after the shootings clearly approves that attackers were equipped with grenade dischargers and machine guns.

Big disaster reduced to small-font headline

It is simple and grievous: 12 people, including famous journalists and cartoonists, were killed in a terrorist attack. Newspapers ought to give a full news and photo coverage – regardless of their political motives – on the basis of basic principles of newswriting and the six news criteria. The reportage of the incident by Iranian newspapers, however, was done in a different manner.

Resalat and Javan newspapers went beyond a news coverage, and published analytical articles expressing their viewpoint on the incident. Right-wing fundamentalist media denounced Islamophobia and blamed French policies for sponsoring terrorism.

Iran and Ghanoon newspapers published their edition with a photo of the shooting on their front-page. Reformist newspapers, such as Etemad, Shargh and Shahrvand ran small-sized headlines which is difficult to spot on their front pages.

Whether left or right-wing, every Iranian newspaper reported the terrorist attack and number of victims. But almost none of them have disclosed the identity of victims. They all maintained a silence on the identity of victims of Charlie Hebdo shooting.

Reformist newspaper Etemad carried the headline “Black Wednesday in Paris”. The story, quoted from international news agencies, provided a background information about Charlie Hebdo newspaper, how terrorists entered the office building, and statements made by French authorities such as Francois Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy. The story ends with this background information: “But Charlie Hebdo is the same magazine that published insulting cartoons of the Prophet [Muhammad] in an anti-Islamic move. The magazine also published a book on Prophet’s biography in 80,000 copies that brought Muslims’ wrath and protests in Islamic countries.”

Tiny, difficult-to-spot headlines on front page

Shargh newspaper also ran a very small headline, “Shot into Europe’s heart” without a photo. Again, there is no mentioning of the names of killed cartoonists.

Shahrvand newspaper also had a tiny headline, “Massacre in Paris”, in the lower half of its front page. The story reads as follows: “Shouting ‘Allah is Great’, gunmen shoot at the heart of France, to make Europeans believe that they are also under constant threat. The story started when several black-clad, masked individuals entered the office building of Charlie Hebdo satirical weekly newspaper and targeted the staff with their Kalashnikov and rocket.

Eyewitnesses report that at least 30 shots were heard. According to newspaper staff, some of them having fled to the roof, the shootings were a mere ‘massacre.’ Other reports say that attackers spoke fluent French, asked the names of individuals before shooting, or called the name of those who wanted them dead. They report that one of the gunmen shouted ‘Allah Is Great’ in the midst of attack, and attackers told that ‘We killed Charlie and took the Prophet’s revenge.’ According to informed sources at French Police, the shooting left 12 people dead, 10 journalists and cartoonists and 3 police officers. Also, ten French citizens were injured, five of them reportedly being in serious condition.”

Shahrvand newspaper focuses on Charlie Hebdo’s record of publishing cartoons against the Prophet of Islam: “In September 2012, the satirical weekly newspaper sparked a wave of mass protests in Islamic countries after it published cartoons relating to the Prophet of Islam. In February 2006, the French weekly republished controversial cartoons on Muhammad (pbuh) published before by the Danish magazine. However, following a controversy, the then editor of Charlie Hebdo was exonerated from the charge of insulting Muslims. Charli Hebdo was, in fact, a descendant of Hara-Kiri weekly magazine. Published from 1960 to 1961, Hara-Kiri was banned from sale for an offence of lèse-majesté.

“Charlie Hebdo: Not a very reputable weekly”

Government-run newspaper Iran carried a banner photo on the shooting under the headline “Bloody Show of Terrorists in Paris” in its front page, calling the satirical weekly magazine “not very reputable”.

Iran newspaper looks into the record of Charlie Hebdo weekly newspaper and argues that the incident was resulted by the actions of the weekly itself. Under a section titled “Charlie Hebdo’s history of anti-Islamic activities,” Iran newspaper writes: “This is not the first time that Charlie Hebdo, the French satirical weekly newspaper, is making news. The magazine had fuelled Muslims anger all around the world by publishing cartoons of Prophet Muhammad in 2006, later in 2011, and finally in 2012. The left-wing weekly has repeatedly committed anti-Muslim acts during the past decade. In 2006, the satirical weekly republished insulting Danish cartoons of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) on its special edition cover, provoking Muslims anger.

Just a photo, no details

Ghanoon newspaper also carried a banner photo of the incident on its front page. The banner headline read: “ISIS Shooting at Europe’s Bride.” Ghanoon suffices it to say that “two masked gunmen attacked Paris office of Charlie Hebdo cartoon newspaper and opened fire, leading to the death of at least 12 staff. An hour earlier, the weekly had published a cartoon of Abu Bakr Baghdadi, the leader of terrorist group ISIS.”

“Western newspapers underscore Allah u Akbar shouts of attackers” The front-page of fundamentalist newspaper Javan, affiliated with the IRGC, ran a headline of the Paris shootings as the second most important story. Although the kicker just reports news, the main headline indicates that the article is an opinion piece: “Cartoon of Islamophobia in France.”

Bylined writer Rouhollah Salehi does not express any kind of condemnation or sympathy on the incident. “After Australia, it is now France’s turn to be targeted by terrorists trained and raised in Western countries.”

The article argues that Western media are trying to emphasize the insulting act of the weekly newspaper against Islam with the purpose of blaming takfiris and Muslims for the shootings and spreading Islamophobia throughout the West.

Kayhan closed its eyes to shooting

Kayhan daily, notorious for its hardline fundamentalist stance, has closed its eyes to the shooting on its front page. Instead, a short news article was published on its ‘Incidents’ page.

Right-wing newspapers write opinions instead of reporting news Vatan Emrooz newspaper wrote an opinion piece headlined ‘Declaration of War in Hollande Style.’ The article states that the occurrence of such incidents is the inevitable result of France’s actions.

“The immediate and seemingly staged reaction of French President Francoise Hollande to this terrorist attack has reminded many people of clichéd statements of his former American counterpart George Bush 11 years ago.”

“France finally pays for sponsoring terrorism”

Resalat, right-wing newspaper, published an opinion piece without a byline under the headline “France Finally Pays for Sponsoring Terrorism.” The article read: “Many takfiri figures were supported by this country [France] during the past years, or even decades. They carried out large-scale operations in Paris and other cities of France. Therefore, the recent act of terrorists against Paris security is the repercussions of decade-long support of takfiris by French security agencies.

IRIB’s stance on Charlie Hebdo shooting

IRIB is the monopoly state-run radio and television broadcasting of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Two news shows, ‘20:30’ and ‘Newshour at 9PM,’ featured the Charlie Hebdo shooting.

The Newshour at 10 PM, one of the main news program broadcast by IRINN, reported the shootings as the fourth news item, giving it a lower priority. Later, it featured a cleric as an expert on the subject who said: “We express our condolences for the death of four artists.” He then declared the shootings a suspicion act aimed at sowing division among religions and nations. The Newshour at 9 PM reported the Charlie Hebdo incident as a ‘shooting’ and avoided the use of ‘terrorist attack.’

The 20:30 news show mentioned the satirical type of the weekly newspaper, and broadcast a non-blurry photo showing one of the attackers shooting at the brain of a wounded police officer. The French media showed a blurry version of this photo.

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