If you read and watch entertainment news, you know that an Iranian filmmaker, Asghar Farhadiis, is racking up the Hollywood awards for A Separation even in a climate of US-imposed sanctions. And if you're paying attention to most media coverage, you're well aware of the nuclear issue. But other than that, do we have a lens into the lives and stories of Iranians? Does this kind of cultural lens matter as we settle into our perspectives about Iran? Yes. Without showing the lives, struggles and culture of everyday people living and working in Iran, we in the West have a potentially skewed image of Iranians.
In 2006, Link TV developed a documentary TV series, Bridge to Iran, to provide a window into the lives and struggles of everyday Iranians -- to respond to the cultural and political tensions that have developed between Iran and the US since the Iranian Revolution. Over the years, Bridge to Iran has covered a wide range of social and political issues in modern Iran, including the experiences of young girls facing womanhood and uncertain futures, religious pilgrims who risk their lives to visit a holy site in war-torn Iraq, rural life and political awareness, an exploration of Tehran as an urban metropolis, and Iranian women's participation in the election process.
The new season premieres on February 14. In each of the four episodes of Bridge to Iran, in-depth discussions between host Parisa Soultani and top Iranian filmmakers provide a unique lens into some of the challenges and realities facing Iranians during a time of increased instability -- including censorship, sanctions and safety concerns.
Here are the details about the films and when to catch the episodes, on Link TV or online:
Bridge to Iran offers a diverse perspective on a country on the receiving end of a torrent of media attention -- but with a lens that's inclusive of the people and the art found within Iranian borders. We hope you'll tune in and tell others.
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Caty Borum Chattoo is a producer and communication strategist with Link TV, assistant professor in the School of Communication at American University in Washington, DC, and media fellow with the AU Center for Social Media.
(Al Jazeera English: 0406 PT, May 9, 2011) Opposition "Red Shirt" supporters in Thailand say they are being silenced ahead of an upcoming general election. Police have reportedly closed down several anti-government radio stations for "lacking licenses or permits to broadcast." But activists say the only stations targeted were ones run by Red Shirt supporters. Wayne Hay reports from Bangkok, the Thai capital.
(Democracy Now! 0800 PST, February 8, 2011) A two-part report about Mubarak's attempts to silence the TV network.
Al Jazeera, which broadcasts both in Arabic and English, has been excessively targeted by Hosni Mubarak forces in the past two weeks since demonstrations broke out across Egypt. Despite its journalists being arrested and threatened, its offices set on fire, and its satellite system cut off, Al Jazeera's news coverage of the popular uprising has been unchallenged by other news outlets, and is battling Egypt's pro-Mubarak TV outlets for delivering truth to Egyptians.