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March 13, 2008

Why can’t VOA Persian be as good as the English version?

As I read an article on Voice of America’s English website that objectively discusses sanctions as a strategy of foreign policy, I couldn’t help but ask myself, Why is it that VOA Persian can’t uphold that same standard of journalism?

In the article, Brian Wagner interviews a credible source from the Department of Treasury who does not believe sanctions have been effective:

Michael Jacobson, is a former official in the Treasury Department’s Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence. He says U.S. and international sanctions have curtailed Iran’s foreign business, but it has not hurt the government.

“There it has been less effective to this point,” said Jacobson. “Iran has not completely backed down from its nuclear ambitions and that is the key question is whether or not that will happen.”

However, he also ends the article by referencing others who still believe in sanctions:

While imperfect, some say the embargo remains one of few tools Washington can use to pressure Cuba’s government to change.

“I don’t think from an academic point of view that I would be ready to give up my last piece of paper, as weak as it is, without asking for something in return,” Andy Gomez, a senior fellow at the University of Miami.

This is Journalism 101. In a news piece, it is a reporter’s job is to report the facts and present an objective view of an issue. It is then up to the reader to make up his or her mind.
Perhaps VOA Persian will one day learn from their Voice of America colleagues and interview credible individuals like Jacobson from the Department of Treasury rather than the same old MEK and Monarchist supporters. Until then, at least VOA Persian provides for some good entertainment.

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