Despite occasional restrictions, the popularity of satellite-delivered TV in Iran has never been greater. A news report carried by BBC Monitoring, and quoting Tehran’s ‘Sharq’ newspaper, says ownership of satellite dishes and receivers in the nation is now running at about 71 per cent of all homes.
Just 17 years ago (1995) ownership was barely 1 per cent. The newspaper says Iranian viewers are enjoying and participating in the debate about tradition versus modern thinking, and Iran’s place in today’s world.
“The belief in an Iranian world that is part of the contemporary world, not in opposition to it and not intertwined with it and mortal. It is in this approach that the dualistic view of Iran and anti-Iran has no place. Iran with its religious and cultural life, while being influenced by the non-Iranian world, has influenced the latter and strives in order to upgrade global life. It is in this view that buying non-Iranian cultural goods and selling Iranian cultural goods is a duty, not a deviation, nor [is it being] overly Westernised nor overly Easternised,” says the Sharq news report.
“This liking for media other than their own is not due to godlessness and uncouthness and the existence of a cultural assault, and not because of the unrelenting power of the foreign media; rather, the basis of the tendency is for the cultural and historical understanding of Iranians about themselves and about the global society. Iranians do not recognise the Iranian world in the defined territorial extent and they recognize themselves as a claimant to an ancient civilisation and a partnership in knowing the modern world. This is the view that must be grasped, and they consider pursuing the situation of the Iranian world in global society as the principle. If the national media were able to provide this situation then satellite dishes would become broken very quickly otherwise the level of satellite owners will reach 100 per cent from more than 70 per cent. The realisation of this situation is not very far off. If the existing conditions continue, we will be faced everywhere with the presence of another media that is no longer familiar.”