LIVE GUESTS FROM IRAN OPEN NEW DOORS ON INSIDERS
SAT-7 PARS’ live women’s program Insiders has begun hosting guest experts from inside Iran to speak on social issues for the first time. This development, which demonstrates the program’s existing broad appeal and credibility, will help raise its profile and create new opportunities for engagement with viewers.
“Thank God that He opened these doors for us. Recently, 90 percent of the experts on Insiders are joining us from inside Iran,” shares Sally Momtazi, who presents the program. “We are very excited about this.”
For the team of Iranian Christians who produce Insiders in the United Kingdom, the chance to give a platform to voices on the ground in Iran has been an unexpected result of the coronavirus pandemic. “With everyone getting used to connecting via Skype and Zoom, we were no longer limited to finding local guests to come to the studios,” shares co-host Hengameh Borji. “We began making contact with experts on social issues within Iran, and we discovered that they wanted to share their knowledge with our viewers.”
Recent guests from Iran have included a female writer* and activist who focuses on poverty eradication and local empowerment in rural areas. She spoke about honour killings and the underlying attitudes that treat women as second-class citizens.
“Our children grow up with the outlook that it is women who must do the work. Women, and even very young girls, carry water over very long distances. Once I asked, ‘Why don’t men or boys help? Why doesn’t your brother help?’ The young girl I was addressing bit her lip and replied, ‘No, that wouldn’t be right. When my brother is thirsty, he tells me, and I get the water.’ When women are assigned such a low position in the minds of men in these simple matters, and it is something that is cultivated from childhood, what else can you expect?”
Other guests have included a social worker who shared her expertise on fostering children at risk, a university professor, and an urban planner who discussed how cities can be made accessible for mothers with young children.
As these experts have their own profile and followers, their appearance on the program is helping SAT-7 PARS reach a wider audience. “When we reach out to an expert, they watch our videos, and they are very interested in the show. On our social media pages, they also come across other SAT-7 PARS programs such as Question Mark, which answers viewers’ questions about the Christian faith,” Momtazi says. The guests are often sharing these episodes on their own social media platforms, which also helps connect to their followers in Iran.
This specialist insight is also helping the show give a deeper insight into the topic it covers, which have included Freedom of Religion and Belief, child labour, FGM, poverty, and corporal punishment. “I feel that the overall quality of the show has gone up in recent months,” says Momtazi, reflecting on the latest season. “It has become very beneficial to both viewers and for us, the presenters. It has been a long journey and we have learned a lot on the way, but it has been very rewarding! We put our whole hearts and a lot of passion into making the show; it is far more than a job to us.”