July 30, 2014 Washington DC 2:59 AM


Media Relations / Press Releases

VOA Program to Iran, Parazit, Dedicated to Facebook Friend Killed in Protests

Parazit co-creators say this week's show breaks with its sometimes comic format because of what happened in Iran.

Parazit co-creators Kambiz Hosseini and Saman Arbabi on the set of the show.
Parazit co-creators Kambiz Hosseini and Saman Arbabi on the set of the show.
Kyle King

Voice of America’s popular Farsi language television program Parazit breaks with its satirical and sometimes comic format this week, to discuss the young Iranian pro-democracy demonstrators who died after being shot at Monday’s protests in Tehran.

Parazit co-creators Kambiz Hosseini and Saman Arbabi learned Tuesday that one of the pro-democracy protesters who died this week was a Facebook friend and fan of their show, Mohammad Mokhtari.

Kambiz, the host of Parazit, says this week’s show will be different because, “we decided that it was impossible to ignore what happened to our friend and there is nothing funny about what happened on Monday. We have lost a member of our family.”

The Facebook page of 22-year-old Mohammad Mokhtari shows he was an avid fan of the satirical weekly program, which usually points a comic finger at the dark side of Iranian politics.  Just hours after Parazit’s last show was posted on Facebook, the young man had clicked the “like” button and shared the program with his friends, who have been leaving expressions of sympathy on his Facebook page.

This week’s program features an exclusive interview with the brother of another young pro-democracy supporter who was shot and killed on Monday.  In the interview he tells VOA that his slain brother was a supporter of the pro-democracy movement and opposed the Iranian government. 

Also on Friday’s Parazit, an interview with exiled former founding father of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and now government critic, Mohsen Sazegara, and Newsweek journalist Maziar Bahari, who was trying to cover the Iranian election in 2009 when he was jailed for several months.

Parazit, which is produced at the Washington studios of VOA’s Persian News Network (PNN) is webcast and broadcast by satellite to Iran, where it is one of the country’s most popular shows.  The title, Parazit, means static in Farsi, a reference to Iranian government efforts to jam VOA broadcasts and websites.  Millions of the show’s fans use proxy servers to access the program through social media sites like Facebook and YouTube.  In the last month, Facebook recorded more than 20 million impressions on Parazit's page.

For more on VOA programs visit our website at www.voanews.com.  For Parazit’s Facebook page, go to http://www.facebook.com/parazitparazit?sid=ST2011012103765.

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