Iran's official radio silent about U.N. resolution against Holocaust denials

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Saturday, January 27, 2007

Iran's official radio, Voice of Islamic Republic of Iran (IRIB World Service), failed to include on its English-language web site any reports about the adoption Friday of the U.N. resolution condemning Holocaust denials. The U.S.-drafted resolution was adopted without a vote with 103 of the world body's 192 member states signed on as co-sponsors. Voice of America (VOA) reported Iran was the only country indicating opposition to the measure. An Iranian diplomat at the U.N. described the intent of the resolution's sponsors as "mischievous."

Iran's radio did report extensively on an international cartoon competition in Tehran designed to show drawings with anti-Israel, Holocaust-denial, and pro-Palestinian themes.

While silent about the U.N. resolution, the Iranian radio provided extensive coverage of an earlier international conference in Tehran which questioned the Holocaust. The conference was organized at the initiative of Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Iranian officials argue that meetings such as last month's Tehran conference serve a scholarly purpose, and accused Israel of manipulating the Holocaust for political purposes.

FreeMediaOnline.org commented that the failure of Iran's official radio to report promptly on the U.N. resolution against Holocaust denials is typical of media organizations controlled by regimes which suppress freedom of expression and journalistic independence. FreeMediaOnline.org pointed out that journalists in countries like Iran are unable to report on many issues without specific directives from political or religious leaders.

The UN resolution "urges all member States unreservedly to reject any denial of the Holocaust as a historical event," according to the UN Radio website. The resolution designates January 27 as an International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust.

The new UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issued the following statement through a spokesperson, "The Secretary-General welcomes the adoption by the General Assembly today [Friday] of a resolution unequivocally condemning any denial of the Holocaust. This reflects the prevailing view of the international community. The Secretary-General reiterates his conviction that the denial of historical facts such as the Holocaust is unacceptable. He expresses his strong desire to see this fundamental principle respected both in rhetoric and in practice."

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