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Iranians Flood VOA with Messages for Obama


Most e-mails show support for US president-elect

Washington, D.C., November 12, 2008 – Iranians are flooding President-elect Barack Obama with personal messages on a special Persian-language website the Voice of America (VOA) created for people to express their views.

VOA's Persian News Network (PNN) has received hundreds of messages on topics ranging from U.S.-Iranian relations to access to student visas since it invited its audience last week to write to Obama at the website www.VOANews.com/persian/obamapnn.cfm. The messages, posted on the site, will eventually be transmitted to the president-elect's transition office.

"This enthusiastic response reflects the enormous interest that the Iranian people have in political developments in the United States," said VOA Director Danforth Austin. "It also illustrates the critical role we have in reaching them with balanced and objective information about the United States and the world," he said.

"Mr. Obama, your election to this important position is an historical event. I am glad that I am living in an era when such a miracle took place and that I witnessed it," wrote one viewer from Tehran. Another from Ahvaz stated, "I wish there were at least one media outlet in Iran that could express the joy of Iranians for you. We love America and we respect this great democracy."

Generally, e-mails from Iran show support for Obama. PNN, in a question of the day, asked Iranians on the Internet and on television, "Now that Sen. Obama will be the new American president, do you believe U.S.-Iranian relations will improve or deteriorate?" Out of 7,947 respondents, 17 percent said they would worsen, 43 percent said they will improve, and 40 percent said they would not change.

Currently, one in four adults in Iran watches or listens to PNN broadcasts at least weekly. PNN's website, which received 2,574,901 visits in October, had nearly 180,000 individual visits November 4-5 alone.

VOA established PNN as a network in July 2007. It currently carries 5 hours of radio and 7 hours of television daily, repeated into a 24-hour cycle. Television programs include News and Views, Today's Woman, Roundtable With You, 48 Hours, Late Edition, and News Talk.

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 approximately 1,500 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of more than 134 million people. Programs are produced in 45 languages.

For more information, call VOA Public Relations at (202) 203-4959, or e-mail askvoa@voanews.com.

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