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Radio Farda Launches Expanded, Revamped Website for Iran


(Prague, Czech Republic--December 4, 2006) Radio Farda has introduced an expanded, completely redesigned website, packed with features to bring more information more quickly and more easily to Internet users in Iran.

The new www.radiofarda.com, launched this week, is updated around the clock with an average of more than 60 Persian-language news items and features in a 24-hour period. Drawn from Radio Farda's 24-hour radio broadcasts, news items can be accessed both as text and as audio. In addition, an online staff in Prague and Washington provides special coverage for the website of breaking news, unique online interviews with Iranians, and in-depth special features and background information on the nuclear controversy and other key issues. Section headings such as Iran, the World, Arts and Culture, Sports and Entertainment make information easy to find.

Visitors to www.radiofarda.com can read, listen and interact with Radio Farda through moderated discussions and blogs found in the "Farda Club" section of the website, as well as by making use of the site's "Most Popular" and "Most Emailed" story lists. These last two features provide Radio Farda broadcasters instant feedback demonstrating the appeal of Radio Farda to young Internet users. For example, in the first 30 minutes that the site was available to the public, in the middle of the night in Iran, some 500 visitors looked at a story about a student protest at Amirkabir University in Tehran, shooting it to the top of the Most Popular list.

To circumvent the Iranian government's ongoing and aggressive efforts to block access to Radio Farda's site, several special features, including eight RSS channels and four daily podcasts, allow users to automatically receive the latest updates from Radio Farda to their desktops. The website's online subscription service has also expanded to offer topic-driven daily emails and daily news feeds, as well as information to help the audience get around the censors.

In spite of Tehran's censorship, according to latest figures, www.radiofarda.com is visited nearly one million times a month by more than a quarter of a million unique visitors, who view more than three million pages a month. An estimated eight per cent of all Internet users inside Iran visit Radio Farda's website -- more than two-thirds of whom are young people in the 18-29 age group.

Radio Farda, a joint project of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) and Voice of America (VOA), is a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week service. Produced in Washington, D.C. and Prague, Czech Republic and transmitted to listeners via AM, shortwave and satellite, Radio Farda features fresh news and information at least twice an hour, with longer news programming in the morning and the evening. Radio Farda also broadcasts popular Persian and Western music. Radio Farda programming is available via the Internet, at the service's website www.radiofarda.com and at www.rferl.org; English-language news about events in Iran can be found on the RFE/RL website. To learn more about Radio Farda and its coverage of events in Iran, read and subscribe to "Focus on Farda".
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