UK press overtly negative towards Iran, survey finds

December 5, 2007 - 0:0

LONDON (IRNA) -- The portrayal of Iran in the British print media is overtly negative and frequently misleading, according to a new survey.

The survey, undertaken by the Westminster Committee on Iran, deemed 89 percent of reports to be overtly negative out of a total of 112 mentioning Iran that were published in a one week period between October 28 to November 5 2007.
Some 45 percent of the articles examined in 19 national newspapers were also found to contain ""unsubstantiated, misleading, or inaccurate statements about Iran.""
The culminative effect of repetitive negative or misleading statements is to create ""an accepted wisdom on Iran that is not grounded in reality,"" the report concluded.
The committee was set up in parliament last year to increase dialogue and understanding between Tehran and British MPs and advocates for balanced and objective reporting on Iran.
It found that whilst most articles were unbiased and factually-based, 74 percent contained a sentence or two that rendered the article ""overtly negative"" or ""misleading.""
The most common of these misleading sentences was the claim that Iran had threatened ""to wipe Israel off the face of the map"" by mistranslating comments made by President Mahmud Ahmadinejad last year.
Other frequent pernicious allegations included that Iran is responsible for supplying weapons and intelligence to terrorists in Iraq.
The committee also suggested that a general impression has been created in the UK media that Iran is acting against the will of the ""international community"" in continuing to develop a covert nuclear weapons program.
""This impression is deemed to be misleading to the extent that there is absolutely no proof that Iran has a nuclear weapons program,"" it said.
The findings are similar to a survey published by London Mayor Ken Livingstone last month that found 91 percent of articles in the British press has a ""hostile and scaremongering attitude"" about Muslims and Islam in the British media.
In March, the committee launched a media monitoring body aimed exclusively at highlighting and challenging distorted or misleading reporting on Iran.