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RFE/RL’s Iranian Service: 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
  • Coverage: Radio: 24 hours daily (SW, AM, satellite), satellite television, Internet (website, mobile, social media)
  • Locations: Prague
  • Staff: 62 in Prague, 2 in Washington, 9 correspondents and numerous contributors worldwide.

Media Environment

  • Freedom House Freedom of the Press Report, 2016: Not Free, 90th/100.
  • Reporters Without Borders World Press Freedom Index, 2016: 169th /180.
  • Iran's print and broadcast media and news websites are controlled by the Ministry of Intelligence and the Revolutionary Guard. The Internet is tightly restricted. Mobile users of the radiofarda.com website receive text warnings that they are accessing an unauthorized site.
  • To pressure Radio Farda reporters, authorities have interrogated, coerced, and threatened their family members in Iran in more than 20 incidents since 2012. Iran has set up phony websites to discredit Farda reporting, and subjected Farda journalists to on-line harassment.

Highlights

  • Radio Farda’s website attracted almost 8 million visitors and 17 million page views in May 2016. Almost half of all traffic originates from inside the country despite an official government ban on the website, the need for a proxy to access it, and deliberately slow internet speeds to deter users.
  • Radio Farda's main Facebook page has over 1.5 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, producing live, five-minute newscasts every hour for VOA’s Persian TV stream between 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., Tehran time. Radio Farda also continues to offer a televised simulcast of Breakfast with News, its popular morning radio program.
  • 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 Iranian 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: 22 June 2016

Facts & Stats about Iran

  • Population: 78.14 million (World Bank estimate, 2014)
  • Most Common Languages: Persian, Turkic dialects, Kurdish, Luri, Balochi, Arabic
  • Press Freedom Index (Freedom House): Not Free, ranked 90 out of 100 (2016)​
  • Press Freedom Index (RSF): 169 out of 180 (2016)
  • Corruption Index (Transparency Int.): 130 out of 168 (2015)
  • Global Peace Index (IES): 133 out of 162 (2016)
  • Human Rights Watch: Report on Iran (2016)
  • Amnesty International: Iran Report (2015/2016)
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