Protest VOA

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Farzin Farzad

Feb 18, 2010, 11:56:13 PM2/18/10
This is from the U.S. Azeris Network. Please join the campaign:

Call To Action

Dostlar -- as you might know, the Voice of America (VOA)'s Persian News Network (PNN) has been consistently biased against the Azerbaijanis and the South Azerbaijan issue. The latest such incident happened on the eve of 21 Azer. We never really protested such mistreatment and raging bias, but enough is enough! We can't allow our taxpayers' money to be used for anti-Azerbaijani propaganda on a government-funded and operated media outlet. We are organizing a campaign, that is targeting not just VOA or even its funders, the  Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), but our members of Congress, and specifically, the Senators, Committee members who have either investigated BBG's poor record before, or are in charge of funding BBG and thus VOA. So we are going to the source. This should yield the maximum effect for our campaign -- if you will send that letter, of course. Feel free to make modifications to it.

USAN Board

Dear BBG, VOA and Member of Congress,

As an Azerbaijani-American Turk, originally from the Iran (IRI), I have been greatly disappointed and troubled to learn from an online petition as well as word of mouth and our own media, about the latest transgression of the Voice of America (VOA)’s Persian News Network (PNN) back on December 12, 2009. As such, I am notified not just VOA, but the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) and my members of Congress (House and Senate), along with relevant media, about these ongoing incidents of anti-Azerbaijani reports and coverage by the VOA’s PNN. 


Specifically, the broadcasting of the program “Do Ruze Avval – the first two days” is the source of my family’s and my grievance and complaint, as it contained extreme aggression, attacks and disparaging comments about our historically revered national day – what we call 21 Azer.


The 21 of Azer 1324 and 1325 (12 December 1945-1946) is an important date in the history of Azerbaijan and its people. At that point in history, taking advantage of their legal, historic and moral rights, in response to the principle of self-determination and decolonization promulgated by the newly-founded United Nations (UN), and in response to the persecution from the Shah authorities, the South Azerbaijani Turks established their autonomous national Parliament (Milli Majlis) under the leadership of "Demokrat Firqesi" and declared autonomy within the Pahlavi Iran. This was in line with historic aspirations of the Azerbaijani Turks dating back to the early 20th century, when such prominent figures as Baghir Khan and Sattar Khan, led the democratic aspirations of not such the Azerbaijani Turks of the Iranian Empire, but all the people of Iran.


The autonomous entity, which was known as the Autonomous Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, and viewed itself as a constituent part of Iran, officially existed for only a year, only to be violently abolished in 1946 by the brute military forces of the central government, the Shah Pahlavi's regime. Thousands of South Azerbaijani Turks were either killed, executed or forced to flee to the neighboring countries, including to the Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan and to the Republic of Turkey, and hopes for autonomous self-rule, greater freedom and democracy, and self-determination as envisioned by the United Nations of which the Pahlavi Iran was a member, were temporarily squashed.

Generally, the program “Do Ruze Avval - the first two days” is very informative and good. However, on that day, on December 12, 2009, the presenters, Mr. Hamid Ahmadi and Mehra Maleki, have shown extreme bias and prejudice about 21 Azer.

Because the program is in Persian language, and there is little, if any, checking and verification of its content by non-Persian speaking management and board of VOA and BBG, plus no oversight from the FCC, the PNN easily gets away once again with its display of prejudice and even racism towards all Azerbaijani Turks of IRI.

This is completely unacceptable. I and my family, along with an estimated 400,000 Azerbaijani-Americans, are strongly speaking out against our tax money being wasted on promulgation of prejudice and bias against the Azerbaijani Turks of Iran and their symbols. I am requesting a: 1) full and thorough investigation of the offense along with reprimanding of all those guilty of this outrage; 2) enactment of strict policies and procedures at the PNN; 3) greater oversight, checking mechanisms and verification by the VOA and BBG staff and Board of the PNN’s activities; and 4) better, more equal and affirmative representation and staffing of PNN with such minorities as Azerbaijani Turks, Turkmens, Afshars, Ahwazis, Kurds, Baluchis, to make sure that all the people of IRI are represented and a more accurate picture is shown.


USAN member

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