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VOA's Persian News Network Praised in Internet Article


High-quality programming wins audience share in Iran

Washington, D.C., December 26, 2007 - An article titled "Satellite television thrives in Iran," published on the Internet today, stated that the Voice of America's (VOA) Persian News Network "has won its audience share because of its high-quality programming and because there is no alternative independent source of Persian-language TV news." The article, originally published on the London-based Persian-language www.mianeh.net site, was reprinted today in English on the Middle East On Line website (http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/?id=23671 ).

The article's author, Hengameh Hosseinpour, a communications student at Tehran University, states in the article that VOA's success, especially among radical groups and student activists in reaching a large Iranian audience comes from its "emphasis on human rights, ethnic issues, and the student movement along with its criticism of the Iranian authorities." She also states that periodic crackdowns on dishes and receivers have no impact on satellite viewership and, in fact, have had the opposite effect. Iran's state-run television has responded by making its programming more attractive to the Iranian viewers, but, even with constant broadcasting of Hollywood movies and adding five more channels, it has failed to stem the popularity of foreign broadcasts into in Iran.

"We feel that it is important to provide a maximum amount of unbiased and balanced news and information to our Persian audience since the Iranian government tries so hard to restrict outside influences from the West," said BBG Chairman James K. Glassman. "Every evening, we broadcast seven hours of television programming to Iran via satellite and one hour on shortwave radio in the mornings."

Hosseinpour's article states that Ezzatollah Zarghami, who heads the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, estimates that 23 million Iranians "have uncontrolled access to hundreds of satellite channels. " . . .

VOA has the largest combined radio and television audience of all international broadcasters in Iran, with one in four adult Iranians tuning into a VOA show at least once a week. Programs are also streamed on our website, www.VOANews.com/Persian.

The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors. VOA broadcasts more than 1,000 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of more than 115 million people. Programs are produced in 45 languages.

For more information, call the Office of Public Affairs at (202) 203-4959, or e-mail publicaffairs@voa.gov.

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