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Radio Farda (Persian: راديو فردا) is the Iranian branch of the U.S. government-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) external broadcast service. It broadcasts 24 hours a day in the Persian language from its headquarters in the district Hagibor of Prague, Czech Republic.
|Headquarters||Prague, Czech Republic|
|U.S. Agency for Global Media|
Radio Farda first aired December 2002. Radio Farda broadcasts political, cultural, social, and art news with an emphasis on Iran. The name "Farda" means "tomorrow" in Persian. Radio Farda's broadcasts have been continually blocked by Iranian authorities over the history of its programming.
Launched in December 2002 as the successor to RFE/RL's Persian Service, Radio Farda advances the goals of U.S. foreign policy providing what it claims is an "objective and accurate news and information to counter state censorship and ideology-based media coverage". Radio Farda's new website was launched in 2006 and receives over 3 million page views every month.
Jay Solomon of the Wall Street Journal published a feature story on the challenges Radio Farda faces from an increasingly repressive Iranian regime as well as those in Washington who seek a tougher line on Iran. A few challenges he highlights are Radio Farda journalists being unjustly convicted of crimes against the state, and millions of dollars 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 congressionally funded through the Broadcasting Board of Governors.
An Iranian-American journalist working for Radio Farda, Parnaz Azima, was banned from leaving Iran after her trip to the country. She had entered Iran to visit her ailing mother. She was jailed in May 2007 and released in August. Her passport was returned to her on a 550,000 U.S. Dollar bail.
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". 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. Radio Farda's director, Armand Mostofi, told CNN it has no employees inside Iran.
Radio Farda was established in 2003 as a joint effort of RFE/RL and Voice of America (VOA). In 2007, 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.
In 2009 Radio Farda's SMS system, Facebook and Twitter profiles were launched. Farda's audience sends thousands of voice, text and e-mail messages and comments frequently on the website and Facebook page. Radio Farda Facebook page has over 25,000 friends.
Following two weeks of large-scale protests during the June 12th Iranian elections authorities severely restricted the broadcasts of RFE/RL's Persian Service.
Being one of the least free media environments in the world, Iran ranks 185th out of 195 in Freedom House's "Freedom of the Press 2009" report, behind countries like Sudan, Saudi Arabia, and Tajikistan. In the wake of mass public protests following June's disputed presidential elections, the Iranian government stepped up its efforts to control internet services and other forms of electronic communication, including broadcasts from Radio Farda, which remain illegal in the country.
Radio Farda web editor Fred Petrossians won a media award from Think Social for an internet-based project he co-founded that seeks to spread awareness of bloggers' rights in Iran and other countries with unfree media.
Iranian-born Radio Farda journalist Ahmad Rafat, now a well-known 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.
- Radio Farda Official Website. http://www.rferl.org/section/Iran/156.html
- Radio Farda Fact Sheet Website Page. http://www.rferl.org/info/Iran/186.html
- "Radio Free Europe/Radio Free Liberty". RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty.
- Jay Solomon, The Wall Street Journal http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121332284643270593.html?mod=sphere_ts&mod=sphere_wd
- Iran Permits Journalist to Go, September 5, 2007
- Iran widens journalist crackdown before demonstrations, Iason Athanasiadis, February 10, 2010
- Report: Iran cites CIA in radio arrests, February 8, 2010
- "Iranian Government Steps Up Jamming of Radio Farda".
- Freedom House 2008 Freedom of the Press World Ranking http://www.freedomhouse.org/template.cfm?page=442&year=2008
- Think Social "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-04-13. Retrieved 2010-04-30.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
- "Iranian-born Journalist Wins Award for Press Freedom Advocacy". payvand.com.