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Communications / Press Releases

Radio Farda Families A Target In Iran

In an escalation of ongoing efforts to thwart Radio Farda, RFE/RL's Persian-language Service, Iranian authorities are interrogating journalists' family members in Iran.

Employees of Radio Farda believe that their journalism, which attracts over 10 million page views monthly on Radio Farda's website, is the motive behind at least 20 incidents this year involving the interrogation and intimidation of their family members in Iran by officials of the country's Intelligence Ministry.

In sessions that sometimes lasted for several hours, agents denounced the work of Radio Farda journalists and warned family members against having further contact with them. In several cases they instructed family members to tell their relatives to resign from their jobs and return to Iran; in one instance they demanded that a specific series of reports be discontinued. During questioning, family members were also asked about their foreign contacts and trips abroad.

The interrogations have targeted family members, who in some cases have been repeatedly summoned, in Tehran and at least six other Iranian towns and cities.

"This is a proxy war against Radio Farda. It shows the extremes to which the regime will go to prevent the exchange of information it doesn't control," said Steven W. Korn, RFE/RL president. "Our journalists make enormous sacrifices for the work they do and will not submit to this pressure on them and their families."

Radio Farda, produced in and broadcast from Prague, is a leading source of uncensored information in Iran. Each month 1.5 million users inside the country defy the government by employing proxies to access Radio Farda's website, which is blocked. Radio Farda and "Pasfarda," its signature satire program, are active on social media, with a combined 300,000 Facebook fans. Iranians actively participate in Radio Farda's weekly call-in shows, connect with it daily through hundreds of email and SMS messages, and despite government jamming, tune in to satellite radio and shortwave to hear its programs.

In media freedom surveys this year, Freedom House ranked Iran 192 among 197 countries surveyed and Reporters Without Borders ranked it 175 of 179.

This release is also available in Persian on the Radio Farda website.

Tags: Radio Farda

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Comment Sorting
by: Parviz from: Hampshire, UK
June 09, 2012 18:37
What did you expect from the Islamic regime? A medal for the families of Radio Farda staff ? The regime considers the United States an enemy and Farda staff are paid by the US to follow Washington's agenda and focus on issues that mainly give a negative image of the regime and downgarde whatever it does. Look at your website's contributors and listen carefully to your newscast. Try to see them from the regime's eyes. Providing unbiased news and information to Iranians would not wash. Think again if you think otherwise. Your job is to bring the regime down, never mind how many times you are going to write or underline about principles of journalism,free flow of information, democractic values and so on. There is no such thing as free lunch ! You have to look at the cultural environment of the Middle East, including Iran, holistically and see the facts on the ground and not lecture the Islamic regime or others in the region from your ivory tower.
None of these are meant to defend the regime, but to underline that the US would have done the same if during the Soviet era an American organization openly supported the Soviet regime and propagated soviet values in the US.
I must add that I am also writing this note on behalf three freinds who wrote similar notes in Farsi to Farda web but none were published. It appears that Farda does not publish comments that cast doubt on the merit of its reports. Only complementary notes are published.

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