The fight for hearts and minds reached a new level on May 3, when Cuba and Iran announced plans to increase media cooperation via Iranian-run Spanish language news network Hispan TV. Hispan TV was launched last week, eight months after a September 2010 announcement from Iranian state officials announcing the importance of increasing awareness of Iran’s “ideological legitimacy.”
But why in Spanish? The Guardian reports that Ezatollah Zarqami, the head of Iranian State TV, says because half of the world speaks Spanish.
The answer most likely has to do with the intended audience. Launching a Spanish language network clearly targets the Spanish speaking world, the majority of which resides in Latin America. It is an example of the type of soft power information campaigns that many governments are undertaking in efforts to promote policy, improve public diplomacy, and have a say in the information madhouse that exists today.
While the goal of this venture is supposedly "the reflection of first-hand, authentic news," Cuban Colada points out that:
Iran, Syria, Cuba, Russia and China are among the 10 worst repressors of the Internet, according to a report by the Committee to Protect Journalists published on Monday. Click here for details.
Notice how the goal was stated as "the reflection," not the reporting.
Cross-posted at Fausta's blog.