Middle East / North Africa

In homophobic Iran, a policy that bans homophobia?

Image from Press TV website. Readers posted homophobic comments about this story, despite the website's policy against such comments. (Click the image to read the article and the comments.)

Readers posted homophobic comments about this story on the Press TV website, despite its policy against such comments. (Click the image to read the article and the comments.)

On the heels of a short-lived LGBT-friendly commentary on Iran’s popular Nameh News website, an Iranian government-supported website has published rules against its readers posting comments that are homophobic.

It’s not clear how long the Press TV comment policy has been online. The policy states, “Do not post any content which could be construed as hate speech – this includes racism, sexism, homophobia, and other such content which may advocate bigotry.”

Press TV quoted former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke's opinions about Israel -- and misidentified him as a former Congressman.

Press TV quoted former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke’s opinions about Israel — and misidentified him as a former Congressman.

One of this blog’s readers speculated, “Iran accidentally plagiarised a comment policy forbidding homophobia.”  That interpretation makes sense, since similar or identical policies appear on a variety of websites, including those of the New Jersey Tea Party, Veterans News Now, and the Canadian financial website MunKNEE.

There’s no evidence that  Press TV has become a supporter of human rights for LGBT people. The Tehran-based news organization service presents “basically the Islamic Republic of Iran’s worldview,” having been established “to counter the news coverage that appears on broadcasts such those of BBC World News, CNN International and Al Jazeera English,” in the words of Wikipedia.

Recent articles on Press TV have included:

Press TV has not yet responded to an email asking whether they intend to enforce the anti-homophobia policy, especially in light of recently published comments on an article about an investigation of whether the Conservative Party in the United Kingdom misused public funds for a function that was advertised on a gay dating website. Those comments included:

  • “Gay means someone with mental illness and should be cured NOT spread.”
  • “Go back in the closet and lock the door. Tired of your antics.”
  • “The gay mafia that makes up UK and USA tv is behind the destruction of a mans right to a private and family life.”
  • “When two are more Tories are together it IS a gay party.”
  • “If they haven’t got their hands in the till they’ve got them on some poor kid’s privates.”
Iran's Revolutionary Guards arrested dozens of "homosexuals and devil-worshippers" in October 2013. (Photo courtesy of Mehr News Agency)

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards arrested dozens of “homosexuals and devil-worshippers” in October 2013. (Photo courtesy of Mehr News Agency)

Press TV’s own description of itself is that it heeds “the often neglected voices and perspectives of a great portion of the world” while “embracing and building bridges of cultural understanding.”

In Iran, same-sex intimacy is punishable by death, and many gay men and lesbians have pursued sex-change surgery in order to shield themselves from the country’s harsh anti-gay laws. This year and last year in Iran:

4 thoughts on “In homophobic Iran, a policy that bans homophobia?

  1. Pingback: Iran campaign seeks end to coerced LGBT sex changes | 76 CRIMES

  2. Yes of course more reason for granting asylum to Iranian gays. Also I heard there is this lady in Iran who knows this guy who once said he has nothing against gay people but other sources say by gay he meant jolly.
    Imbeciles

    Like

  3. Pingback: New fund aims to help Iranian LGBT community | 76 CRIMES

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