Friday, October 09, 2015

RFE/RL's Radio Farda

RFE/RL's Radio Farda breaks through government censorship to deliver accurate news, informed discussion, and cultural programming to audiences in Iran.


Fast Facts

  • Language: Persian
  • Established: December 2002
  • Distribution: Radio 24 hours daily (AM, SW, satellite), Internet (website, mobile, social media), TV (satellite)
  • Staff: 62 (Prague), 2 (Washington), 9 correspondents and numerous freelancers worldwide


Media Environment

  • Iran's print and broadcast media and news websites are controlled by the Ministry of Intelligence and the Revolutionary Guards. The Internet is tightly restricted. Mobile users of the Radio Farda website receive text warnings that they are accessing an unauthorized site .
  • Family members of Radio Farda staff were interrogated, coerced and threatened by secret police in more than 20 incidents in 2012-2015. Iran has set up phony websites to discredit Farda reporting, and has targeted Farda journalists in over 15 cases of on-line harassment



  • Radio Farda's website attracted a monthly average of 31.5 million pageviews during the first six months of 2015. Despite an official Iranian government ban, the need for a proxy, and deliberately slow internet speeds to deter users, almost half of all traffic originates from inside the country.
  • Radio Farda's main Facebook page has nearly 1.4 million fans. A Facebook link to its live audio stream has been "suggested" by users over 3.6 million times.
  • Radio Farda has increased its visual output, launching in June 2015 five-minute TV newscasts online and on VOA's Persian stream at the topof the hour from 7pm to 1pm Tehran time. Radio Farda also continues to offer a televised simulcast of Breakfast with news, its popular morning radio program.
  • "Pas Farda," Radio Farda's award-winning satire show, has more than 200,000 Facebook fans and devoted listeners who watch, record and distribute the program five nights a week. Host Farshid Manafi won a Gold Award of Excellence, and a Silver Award of Distinction in the the Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts' 2014 Communicator Awards.
  • Radio Farda live coverage from Vienna of the P5+1 negotiations over Iran's nuclear program served as a primary source of information for Iranians, with a record 1 million page views logged on July 14, 2015 -- the day the deal was announced.
  • Radio Farda journalist Roya Karimi Majd's report "Tradition of the Blade," about female genital mutilation in Iran, won a Gold Award, and Kambiz Hosseini's weekly show "Five in the Afternoon" received a Silver Award at the 2015 New York Festivals International Radio Program Awards.
  • Radio Farda has captured new audiences with documentaries including "Victims of 88," an account of participants in the 2009 post-election protests; the multi-segment "Visit" that profiles Iran's prisoners of conscience; and "Born in Prison," the story of a young man born to  parents in an Iranina prison.  A former political prisoner told Radio Farda that inmates secretly listen to these reports in their cells and obtain information about their own cases.

Updated: 26 August 2015

Facts & Stats

77.45 million (World Bank estimate, 2013)

Most Common Languages:
Persian, Turkic dialects, Kurdish, Luri, Balochi, Arabic

Press Freedom Index (Freedom House):
Not Free, ranked 190 out of 199 (2015)​
"Worst of the Worst" (2015)

Press Freedom Index (RSF):
173 out of 180 (2015)
"Enemy of the Internet" (2012)

Corruption Index (Transparency Int.):
136 out of 175 (2014)

Global Peace Index (IES):
131 out of 162 (2014)

Human Rights Watch:
Report on Iran (2015)

Amnesty International:
Iran Report (2014/2015)

Service Snapshot: Farshid Manafi

Pas Farda's Farshid Manafi at the helm.

Service Snapshot: Farshid Manafi

Radio Farda's Farshid Manafi talks about his popular satirical talk show "Radio Pas Farda." More