Two Iranian state TV journalists reportedly quit their jobs on Monday in response to the Islamic regime lying about shooting down a Ukrainian civilian airliner.
A third former journalist also reportedly came forward to apologize for the “lies” she claimed to have spread for more than a decade on behalf of the Iranian government.
Two journalists working for the Iranian state broadcaster, Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), announced they are quitting their jobs, according to a report by the U.K. Guardian. The newspaper allowed for potentially more journalists leaving their positions in protest.
“Thank you for accepting me as anchor until today. I will never get back to TV. Forgive me,” said journalist Zahra Khatami, quitting her job at IRIB in response to the recent Ukrainian “plane crash” cover-up, according to the Guardian.
“Thank you for your support in all years of my career,” added fellow presenter and colleague Saba Rad, quitting her job as well. “I announce that after 21 years working in radio and TV, I cannot continue my work in the media. I cannot.”
A third presenter, Gelare Jabbari — who had reportedly already quit her job “some time ago” — also chimed in, apologizing to her followers on social media in Farsi and asking them to forgive her for the thirteen years of “lies” she had told them on behalf of the Iranian government.
“It was very hard for me to believe that our people have been killed. Forgive me that I got to know this late. And forgive me for the 13 years I told you lies,” said Jabbari, in an Instagram post on Sunday. Jabbari’s entire Instagram presence disappeared from the platform on Monday afternoon.
— Farnaz 🎗 (@FarnazML64) January 13, 2020
The Iranian government shot down a Ukrainian commercial airliner last week — and later bulldozed the crash site, photo evidence showed — after launching missile strikes targeting Iraqi airbases housing U.S. troops in response to the U.S. killing terrorist leader Qasem Soleimani earlier in January.
Iranian officials had initially lied about Tehran’s involvement in the demise of the Ukrainian airliner, alleging that they had evidence the plane caught fire shortly after takeoff from Tehran’s international airport, but later they admitted an Iranian soldier shot a surface-to-air missile at the plane, presumably thinking it an American missile heading for the capital. The statements by the Iranian state TV journalists arrive at the heels of the apparent attempt at covering up the facts surrounding the fallen airliner.
After Iran’s government admitted to shooting down the airplane, hundreds of Iranians have taken to the streets in protest of their government, chanting, “Death to the Islamic Republic.”
“There is little trust in the government and people want more freedom,” admitted Ghanbar Naderi — a commentator on Iran’s state-run Press TV — to BBC Radio Today, according to the Guardian. “The lies they said about the shooting down of the airplane [have] lost public trust. The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps know it very well.”
Millions and millions took [to] the streets following the assassination of Qassem Suleimani. It was a rare moment of unity but the IRGC blew it. As a journalist you need to be able to sleep at night. I will never ever distance myself from the truth. This a great nation. It has made many mistakes that are unacceptable. If the IRGC shot down a civilian airplane, I have no choice but to condemn it.
According to a translation from the Guardian, the Association of Iranian Journalists has also chimed in, stating that Iran is witnessing “a funeral for public trust,” adding that the already questionable reputation of Iranian state media is becoming further damaged among its people.
The Association of Iranian Journalists reportedly continued with the following statement:
The publication of false information has had a severe impact on public confidence and public opinion, and more than ever shook the media’s shaky position. The situation has become so complex. We lie loudest when we lie to ourselves; and Islamic Republic of Iran state television employees acknowledge that their credibility has been lost. Unaware that the credibility of this media and most of the domestic media had long since vanished.
It should be noted, however, that other media outlets objected to the situation, but the Islamic Republic of Iran’s state television favored it. This incident showed that people cannot trust official data and journalists should try to fill this gap as much as possible.
You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, and on Instagram.