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BBC Persian anchor accused of anti-Kurd bias

Farnaz Ghazizadeh, a television presenter for BBC Persian.
Farnaz Ghazizadeh, a television presenter for BBC Persian.

A BBC Persian news anchor has been blasted by Iranian-Kurdish social media users for showing alleged anti-Kurd bias during an interview with a member of the Kurdish opposition earlier this week.

Farnaz Ghazizadeh, a television presenter for BBC Persian, interviewed Shaho Hoseini, a representative of the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran (PDKI) based in Paris, and asked him if Iran’s claim about Saudi Arabia supporting Kurdish militants was correct.

Although Hoseini vehemently denied any Saudi support to his organisation, Ghazizadeh continued to probe him on the PDKI’s alleged links with the Gulf monarchy and appeared to insinuate that they must exist as a person affiliated with the Kurdish separatist group was seen participating in the Hajj, the annual Islamic pilgrimage.

“If your party is secular democratic, why is one of your members in the Hajj?” Ghazizadeh can be seen asking her Kurdish guest in the video interview uploaded to BBC Persian’s Facebook page.

The Persian anchor apparently confused and conflated secularism with atheism, and held the opinion that members of the secular-nationalist PDKI could not hold religious beliefs

According to the English-language Kurdistan24 news website, social media users perceived Ghazizadeh’s approach to asking questions as being “biased and unprofessional” and accused her of turning “the interview into an interrogation.”

“Well, this anchor is clearly a product of the Islamic Republic of Iran and has internalized the hatred and phobia of ethnic and religious minorities that the regime spreads in the society,” Arash Salih, a US-based PDKI member told Kurdistan24.

“The political power in Iran has always accepted and legalized only one way of life and one form of culture. That is why even among intellectuals, journalists, and even the opposition, there are many who are trying to criminalise and marginalise the demands of Kurds,” Salih added.

The PDKI recently reignited their armed struggle with Iran after accusing Tehran of discriminating against the Kurds. Iran’s Kurdish minority have long fought for autonomy and sometimes independence, including establishing the short-lived Republic of Mahabad in 1946 that collapsed after the Soviet Union withdrew its support.

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