Each Christmas Day, Queen Elizabeth II broadcasts a seasonal message to the nation. Since 1993, the UK’s Channel 4 has broadcast an ‘alternative message’ presented by a range of figures, including an injured veteran from the war in Afghanistan, Jesse Jackson, a 9/11 survivor and a character from The Simpsons.
This year, in a new low, Channel 4’s alternative message is presented by Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. HonestReporting UK is absolutely appalled at Channel 4’s behaviour and our outrage is shared by many others:
- “The appearance on our television screens of a man whose prejudices are so well-documented and who has openly called for the eradication of another member country of the United Nations is an affront to decency.”To invite him to deliver a Christmas message, even a so-called alternative one, fills me with disgust. Whatever he may say in his ‘message’, his words on other occasions and his actions towards minority groups in Iran should have disqualified him from filling this television spot.” – Henry Grunwald, President, Board of Deputies of British Jews
- “The Queen’s Christmas message is one of the most significant symbols in British society, and Channel 4 News is one of Britain’s most prestigious broadcasters. It is equivalent to CNN in America broadcasting an alternative Fourth of July address by Saddam Hussein.”It is disgraceful. Ahmadinejad is a bigoted dictator. The regime’s human rights record includes the killing of homosexuals, the persecution of minorities such as Kurds, Bahai’i and Zoroastrians, and the recent sentencing of a woman to be stoned to death for adultery. Even by the standards of the British media, this marks a new low.” – Tom Gross, media analyst
- “On the day Christians commemorate as the birth of their Saviour — a Jew called Jesus — Channel 4 has chosen to broadcast an “alternative” Christmas message from an anti-Semite who thinks Israel and the Jews should be swept into the sea and who sponsors conferences designed to “prove” the Holocaust is a Jewish myth.Yes, though it beggars belief, Channel 4 asked Iran’s President Ahmadinejad to give this year’s alternative Christmas message. Sorry, this is not an early, bad taste April fool: a man who hates Jews, persecutes Christians in his own land and who denies the greatest crime against humanity ever happened has seven uninterrupted and unchallenged minutes on prime-time British network TV on Christmas Day to himself. Those whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad — then put them in charge of Channel 4. No doubt if Hitler was still around they’d have him broadcast a Happy Hanukah message.” – Editorial, The Spectator
- “That (Channel 4) should give an unchallenged platform to the president of a regime which denies the Holocaust, advocates the destruction of the sovereign state of Israel, funds and encourages terrorism, executes children and hangs gay people is a disgrace. Outrage doesn’t begin to explain it.” – Ron Prosor, Israeli Ambassador to the UK
- “This is the equivalent of giving Robert Mugabe a prime-time television slot to promote his propaganda.” – Peter Tatchell, human rights activist
Ahmadinejad’s message is broadcast at 7.15pm GMT on Christmas Day. We urge you to register your disgust by sending your comments through Channel 4’s Viewer Enquiries through its web form or calling Channel 4 at 020 7396 4444 if you are located in the UK.
Some of you may receive this communique upon your return from the holiday season. It is not too late to register your complaint with Channel 4. Please make the effort to do so.