Iran State TV Anchors Quit: 'Forgive Me' for the 'Lies'

The Association of Iranian Journalists says public trust is melting down
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 14, 2020 12:42 PM CST
Iran State TV Anchors Quit: 'Forgive Me' for the 'Lies'
In this photograph taken Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020, protesters hold flowers as tear gas fired by police rises at a demonstration in front of Amir Kabir University in Tehran, Iran, to remember victims of a Ukrainian airplane shot down by an Iranian missile.   (AP Photo)

Two anchors for Iranian state TV have quit amid growing furor over the downing of a Ukrainian jetliner, Fox News reports. "Thank you for accepting me as anchor until today," said Zahra Khatami, formerly of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting. "I will never get back to TV. Forgive me." Another, Saba Rad, also thanked supporters and said her 21-year career in journalism was over: "I cannot continue my work in the media," she said. "I cannot." A third presenter, Gelare Jabbari, posted on Instagram that she had quit a while ago: "It was very hard for me to believe that our people have been killed," she wrote, per the Guardian. "Forgive me that I got to know this late. And forgive me for the 13 years I told you lies."

At issue is Iran's initial denial it had shot down the plane, killing all 176 on board, and anti-government demonstrations that ensued when the truth came out. Some news outlets close to the regime are even reporting on the protests now, and the Association of Iranian Journalists says the country is undergoing "a funeral for public trust." Speaking on BBC Radio, a commentator for the nation's state-run TV said, "There is little trust in the government and people want more freedom. The lies they said about the shooting down of the aeroplane [have] lost public trust." To be fair, some Iranian media outlets engage in debates over government policies, but Reporters Without Borders says independent journalists there are "subjected to intimidation, arbitrary arrest and long jail sentences." (More Iran stories.)

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