Attorney Eitan Gluck
Attorney Eitan GluckTomer Lasar

A fierce rivalry between media outlets in Israel's Persian community recently reached an unprecedented apex, sending competing newspapers to the courts as a result of defamation claims.

Reporter and commentator Perissa Daniel filed a scathing defamation suit against a well-known media personality from a rival channel after it circulated a post accusing her of collaborating with Iran's Revolutionary Guards - the elite military wing of the Islamic Republic, sanctioned by the U.S. and featured on the FBI's terror list.

Daniel, who escaped from the clutches of the Ayatollahs' regime with her two daughters, leaving behind her husband, extended family members and property, arrived in Israel about eight years ago. After initially fleeing to Turkey, they proceeded to the Jewish State with the help of officials in the Israeli embassy.

According to her lawyer, Daniel, who was thrown into an Iranian jail for helping the Jewish community in her home city of Shiraz, never imagined she'd be accused of collaborating with Iran's fiercest terrorist group.

Once in Israel, Daniel established an Internet and TV channel called Israel Pars TV, which broadcasts to millions of Israelis of Persian descent as well as members of the Iranian Diaspora worldwide, providing support for opponents of the regime. She thus became a familiar face among the Persian-speaking community in Israel and abroad.

About three years ago, Daniel was shocked to discover a social media post her lawyer claims was written by a relative of a well-known commentator running a competing media channel, accusing her of aiding Iran's Revolutionary Guards. The case was eventually settled out of court.

According to her lawyer, about a year after the initial incident, an article by a Persian-language outlet in New Zealand followed suit, accusing Daniel of complicity with the Iranian regime. The same reporter allegedly shared this article with notable personalities - journalists among them.

At this point, Daniel filed a defamation suit against the reporter, alleging irreversible damage to herself and her professional reputation.

Daniel's attorney said her competitor did not only spread defamatory rumors, but when a listener expressed concern it would provoke unnecessary conflict in the community, he stepped up the accusations, writing: "This appeared on Facebook [and] I always suspected her [anyway] because she'd conduct interviews with anti-Semitic and anti-Israel activists."

The judge in the case concluded that the story was spread with intent to harm Daniel and her channel as a result of commercial rivalry. "It is impossible not to conclude that the post was an attempt to damage the plaintiff's good name, to present her as a [supporter] of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, without any proven, legally admissible factual evidence," and that this was a "egregious defamatory statement."

The reporter was sentenced to pay NIS 20,000 in compensation and since he had reneged on a settlement reached in the initial case, was also fined an additional NIS 20,000 in legal expenses to the plaintiff.