Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to deliver TV Christmas message in UK
Each year on Christmas Day, the BBC presents a Christmas message from the Queen of England to all of her citizens around the world. For years Channel 4, the UK broadcaster which is partially publicly funded and was set up to appeal to youth and minority communities, offers an 'alternative' Christmas message from another public figure.
The choice has always aimed to be a bit edgy, but this year's selection will surpass all others in controversy. The channel has selected Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to deliver the address. The selection is bound to be controversial not only because of the president's anti-Western and anti-Semitic views, but also because of his very strong Muslim faith.
But the channel has shied away from scheduling the president's address against the Queen's Christmas speech at 3pm. Unlike most years, it is not airing its alternative Christmas message at the same time as the Queen, but is instead scheduling Ahmadinejad's message at 7.15pm.
Channel 4 has said that the Muslim president, who has a hostile relationship with many western countries, will deliver a spiritual address that will feature a message of seasonal goodwill.
It will be preceded by a short introduction designed to place his speech in context, the broadcaster added.