Radio Farda

Radio Farda (Persian: راديو فردا‎, lit. 'Radio Tomorrow') is a U.S. government state sponsored media. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), its parent agency, is an external broadcast service is tasked by U.S. Agency for Global Media laws to allegedly provide "factual, objective and professional journalism" to its audiences. It broadcasts 24 hours a day in the Persian language and other languages from its headquarters in the district Hagibor of Prague, Czech Republic.[1] However, accusations of corruption and inaccurate reporting have troubled the agency over the years.[2]

Radio Farda
Radio Farda logo.png
AbbreviationRF
FormationDecember 2002
PurposeBroadcast Media
HeadquartersPrague Broadcast Center, Prague, Czech Republic
Official language
Persian
President
Mehdi Parpanchi
Parent organization
U.S. Agency for Global Media
Websiteradiofarda.com

Recently, the Trump Administration fired all four heads of the USAGM programs, including for RFE/RL that oversees Radio Farda, under a storm of criticism accusing the outlets of becoming "state sponsored propaganda" with White supremacy and Kahane Chai terrorist overtones and Anti-Iranian sentiment undertones.[3]

HistoryEdit

According to a briefing before the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs, it was stated that Radio Farda was specifically promulgated for America's "regime change" policies against Iranians, which have been operating from the American angle at least as far back as Operation ajax, when America toppled Iran's nascent democracy, the first in the Middle East, care of Winston Churchill's request to the Central Intelligence Agency.[4]

Radio Farda, as a separate brand, finally promulgated in 2003 as a joint effort of RFE/RL and Voice of America (VOA). In 2007, however, the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) decided to consolidate all of Radio Farda's operations under RFE/RL. Then in July 2008, RFE/RL assumed sole responsibility for all Radio Farda programming, thus returning Radio Farda to a transparent relationship with USAGM hierarchy. Radio Farda was initially heavily criticized for simply playing music instead of providing journalism, an effort by Radio Farda to draw in young listeners.[5]

Scandals and ControversiesEdit

Frequent accusations of sexual harassment and other improprieties, especially against women, have taken place against US State Department agencies, particularly of the USAGM branch in which Radio Farda's entity resides.[6]

In June 2014, the International Labor Rights Forum issued a letter calling "for the U.S. Government agency to end discriminatory employment policies at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and implement the U.S. Government’s commitments under the OECD Guidelines for Multi-national Enterprises and the United Nations’ Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights" in the wake of accusations that RFE/RL was taking advantage of labor policies in the Czech Republic, where Radio Farda's top staff also are located, to actually exploit their own employees.[7]

Prominent Muslim organizations such as the Council on American–Islamic Relations have aired criticisms that the direction of USAGM media such as VOA and Radio Farda are steadfastly moving towards becoming voices of White Supremacy under President Donald Trump.[8]

In December 2019, Haroon Ullah, the counter-terrorism expert and chief strategy officer at the U.S. Agency for Global Media was caught and convicted for falsifying thousands of dollars in expense reports to his U.S. government employer.[9] The Judge for the trial was surprised at the prosecutor's leniency and demanded a punishment, rejecting plea deals forwarded by Ullah's team.

The Trump Administration has recently fired all four heads of the USAGM programs and has examined cancelling the visas of international journalists working for Radio Farda.[10]

On July 17, 2020, Radio Farda published an opinion article by agents of the controversial pro-Israeli war hawk think tank, the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) alleging that their own policies accepted by the Trump administration have suffocated Iranian outreach during the Iran deal.[11] The FDD has been strongly criticized for serving as a potential arm of Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu and his administration's policies while also having a strong influence on the breaking of the Iran deal and a re-trajectory towards yet another "endless war" for Americans.[12]

Administrative IssuesEdit

Jay Solomon of The Wall Street Journal published a feature story on the challenges Radio Farda faces from critics both in Iran and America. A few challenges he highlights are Radio Farda journalists being convicted (he alleges unjustly) of crimes against the state, and millions of dollars allegedly spent on jamming Radio Farda broadcasts. He also goes into detail about the fine line Radio Farda must walk to present itself as objective and accurate news source to its audience even though it is funded by Congress through the Broadcasting Board of Governors.[13] This funding has come under scrutiny by Iranian-American attorneys as of late as it is believed that Radio Farda may be violating USAGM laws.[14]

An Iranian-American journalist working for Radio Farda, Parnaz Azima, was banned from leaving Iran after her trip to the country. She alleged she had entered Iran to visit her ailing mother. Unconvinced by this, however, the Iranian judiciary jailed her in May 2007 and released her shortly thereafter in August.[15] Her passport was returned to her on a $550,000 bail.[citation needed]

According to Iason Athanasiadis of The Christian Science Monitor, the Prague-headquartered Radio Farda was at first "tolerated" by the Islamic Republic, unlike "the Washington-based Voice of America", and "regularly interviewed Iranian politicians".[16] However, on February 7, 2010, the public relations office of the Ministry of Intelligence announced the arrest of seven journalists described as "elements of a counter-revolutionary Zionist satellite station" and in the "official pay" of US intelligence organizations. They were later identified as working for the US-funded Radio Farda.[16] Radio Farda's director, Armand Mostofi, alleged to CNN that it has no employees inside Iran.[17] However, the case of Parnaz Azima aforementioned above contradicts this notion.[15]

AwardsEdit

Iranian-born Radio Farda journalist Ahmad Rafat, now a reporter based in Italy, has been honored for his more than 30 years of work advocating press freedom and exposing human rights abuses. The 2008 Ilaria Alpi award was presented by the Italian chapter of Reporters Without Borders to Rafat at a June 7 ceremony in Riccione, Italy.[18]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ About Radio Farda https://en.radiofarda.com/p/6258.html
  2. ^ Ahmari, Sohrab (2017-06-11). "In Iran, Radio Liberty Doesn't Live Up to Its Name". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2020-07-18.
  3. ^ Spero, Domani (2020-06-18). "@USAGMgov: Heads of MBN, Radio Free Asia, RFE/RL, and the Open Technology Fund Ousted". Diplopundit. Retrieved 2020-07-18.
  4. ^ Affairs, United States Congress House Committee on Foreign (2007). Iran: Briefing and Hearing Before the Committee on Foreign Affairs, House of Representatives, One Hundred Tenth Congress, First Session, January 11 and January 31, 2007. U.S. Government Printing Office.
  5. ^ "On Radio Farda". Washington Examiner. 2007-01-15. Retrieved 2020-07-18.
  6. ^ "#StateToo: Ending Harassment at the State Department". www.afsa.org. Retrieved 2020-07-18.
  7. ^ "Discrimination at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty | International Labor Rights Forum". laborrights.org. Retrieved 2020-07-18.
  8. ^ "CAIR Calls on USAGM Head to Drop Consideration of Anti-Muslim Bigot Sebastian Gorka for Voice of America Leadership Role – CAIR – Council on American-Islamic Relations". Retrieved 2020-07-18.
  9. ^ Weiner, Rachel (2 December 2019). "Counterterrorism expert goes from top government job to prison for faking expense reports". Washington Post. Retrieved 2020-07-18.
  10. ^ "US global media agency continues to clean house, seeks to kick out international journalists". www.msn.com. Retrieved 2020-07-18.
  11. ^ "Tehran Consolidates Hardline Gains At Home While COVID-19 Spreads". RFE/RL. Retrieved 2020-07-18.
  12. ^ Judis, John B. (2015-08-18). "The Little Think Tank That Could". Slate. ISSN 1091-2339. Retrieved 2020-07-18.
  13. ^ Jay Solomon, The Wall Street Journal http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121332284643270593.html?mod=sphere_ts&mod=sphere_wd
  14. ^ "Citing A Breached 'Firewall,' Media Leaders Sue U.S. Official Over Firings". NPR.org. Retrieved 2020-07-25.
  15. ^ a b Iran Permits Journalist to Go, September 5, 2007
  16. ^ a b Iran widens journalist crackdown before demonstrations, Iason Athanasiadis, February 10, 2010
  17. ^ Report: Iran cites CIA in radio arrests, February 8, 2010
  18. ^ "Iranian-born Journalist Wins Award for Press Freedom Advocacy". payvand.com.

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 50°4′44″N 14°28′43″E / 50.07889°N 14.47861°E / 50.07889; 14.47861