Saturday, April 19, 2014

RFE/RL's Radio Farda

Radio Farda defies rigid censorship to deliver independent multi-media news, analysis, and cultural programming to millions of Iranians and engage them in informed discussion about their world.

Fast Facts

  • Language: Persian
  • Established: December 2002
  • Distribution: Radio (AM, SW, satellite), Internet (website, mobile, social media), TV (satellite)
  • Coverage: Radio: 24 hours daily
  • Staff: 57 (Prague), 2 (Washington), 9 correspondents and 28 freelancers worldwide

Media Environment

  • Media in Iran are controlled by the Ministry of Intelligence and the Revolutionary Guards. Radio Farda broadcasts have been jammed; proxies are necessary to connect with Radio Farda's website; and mobile users receive SMS warnings that they are accessing an unauthorized site.
  • In more than 20 incidents since 2012, authorities have sought to intimidate Radio Farda journalists by interrogating and threatening their family members in Iran. Radio Farda journalists have had their email accounts hacked and have been subject to numerous forms of online harassment.


  • Radio Farda’s coverage of the November 2013 Geneva negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program was carried by state media and cited widely inside the country. Reporting in 2012 on the P5+1 negotiations prompted state media to change its official version of the talks.
  • Despite online censorship, more than one-third of visits to Radio Farda’s website originate in Iran, contributing to an average of 12 million page views on the site every month.
  • Radio Farda’s online community is expanding rapidly. Its main Facebook page is adding new fans at a rate of 3,000 per day for a projected overall Radio Farda fan base of 1 million by the end of 2013. A Facebook link to its live audio stream has been "recommended" by users over 3,600,000 times.
  • Radio Farda is a leading news destination for Iranian audiences during national events. During the 2013 presidential elections, citizens defied the censors and sent hundreds of tips and comments to Radio Farda by SMS, email, and telephone. Such direct communications have grown by 42 percent in the past year, currently totaling approximately 300 direct messages daily.
  • In December 2012 Radio Farda launched a televised simulcast of its popular morning show, Breakfast with News, which airs on VOA Persian (PNN) satellite channels.
  • Radio Farda’s comprehensive human rights monitoring is unique inside Iran. It is listened to by prison inmates who rely on it as the sole source of accurate reporting on their cases.
  • "Pasfarda" is Radio Farda’s award-winning satire show, with more than 600 episodes to date and 165,000 Facebook fans that tune into the nightly program and share it. Host Farshid Manafi was the Association for International Broadcasting’s "International Radio Personality of the Year" in 2011.
  • Recent distinguished Radio Farda programs include: "The Sixth Hour," a live, current events call-in show; the award-winning investigative report, “Solitary Confinement,” about life in the isolation cells of Iran’s notorious prisons; "Victims of 88," a groundbreaking report on the deaths and disappearances of activists associated with the 2009 protests; “Visit,” a multi-segment radio documentary profiling Iran's prisoners of conscience,” and Radio Farda’s daily coverage of music and musicians banned in Iran.
  • In 2013, Radio Farda journalists won a Silver medal at The New York Festivals International Radio Programs and Promos Awards; “highly commended” recognition at the AIB International Media Excellence awards; and first prize from the Online News Association for a specialized election-related website.

Updated: 3 December 2013

Facts & Stats

76.42 million (World Bank estimate, 2012)

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

Press Freedom Index (Freedom House):
Not Free, ranked 191 out of 196 (2013)

Press Freedom Index (RSF):
174 out of 179 (2013)
"Enemy of the Internet" (2012)

Corruption Index (Transparency Int.):
133 out of 174 (2012)

Global Peace Index (IES):
137 out of 162 (2013)

Human Rights Watch:
Report on Iran (2013)

Amnesty International:
Iran Report (2012)

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