From www.kimandrewelliott.com

Radio Farda more tolerated in Iran than VOA Persian? And other Iran media news.

Posted: 11 Feb 2010

"On Sunday, 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, though the Prague-based organization denies employing anyone inside Iran. Their arrest marks an increasing intolerance towards foreign media. Unlike the Washington-based Voice of America (VOA) television, the Prague-headquartered Radio Farda was tolerated and would regularly interview Iranian politicians." Iason Athanasiadis, Christian Science Monitor, 10 February 2010. I've never seen Radio Farda and VOA Persian contrasted as such. It's not my impression that Radio Farda pulls any punches in its coverage of Iran. As a youth-oriented station with much music, Radio Farda has less quantity of news about Iran than VOA Persian News Network.
     "Iran's telecommunications agency announced what it described as a permanent suspension of Google Inc.'s email services, saying a national email service for Iranian citizens would soon be rolled out. It wasn't clear late Wednesday what effect the order had on Gmail services in Iran, or even if Iran had implemented its new policy. Iranian officials have claimed technological advances in the past that they haven't been able to execute. A Google spokesman said in a statement, 'We have heard from users in Iran that they are having trouble accessing Gmail. We can confirm a sharp drop in traffic, and we have looked at our own networks and found that they are working properly. Whenever we encounter blocks in our services we try to resolve them as quickly as possibly because we strongly believe that people everywhere should have the ability to communicate freely online.'" Chip Cummins and Jessica E. Vascellaro, Wall Street Journal, 10 February 2010.
     "In an email to IPI, Google spokesperson Kay Oberbeck said: “We have heard from users in Iran that they are having trouble accessing Gmail. We can confirm a sharp drop in traffic and we have inspected our own networks and found out that they are working properly. 'Whenever we encounter blocks in our services we try to resolve them as quickly as possible because we strongly believe that people everywhere should have the ability to communicate online freely. Sadly, sometimes it is not within our control.'" International Press Institute, 11 February 2010.
     "The anniversary of the Islamic Revolution is usually greeted with mass celebrations by Iranians. However, this year's activities are set to be marred by demonstrations for increased accountability and representation. Given the turmoil surrounding the coverage of the disputed elections in June 2009, we have identified a number of good sources to monitor today's events. Live coverage: Look for al-Jazeera, the BBC and the Guardian to begin live blogs should events escalate. ... The government's line: http://www.presstv.ir/ -- Tehran's English news network. Farsi sources: http://www.bbc.co.uk/persian/index.shtml -- Press TV's nemesis, BBC Persian, will attempt to cover the anniversary for its Farsi-speaking audience." Henry Smith, New Statesman, 11 February 2010. For English-language content, I would add RFE/RL's Iran page and RFE/RL's Persian Letters blog.
     "Iran's official media does not offer a wide angle on the story. Gisoo Ahmadi, correspondent for English-language Press TV, made no mention of opposition protests but described her excitement at covering the revolution's anniversary for the third time. ... Opposition websites are probably the best source of news about Iran and there is regular praise for the BBC Persian TV satellite channel, which depends largely on information sent in by viewers." Ian Black, The Guardian, 11 February 2010.
     "It is 31 years since the Shah of Iran was ousted by making a similar set of mistakes. ... [O]nce matters got out of hand, in desperation, he accused the West of having engineered the revolution through the BBC Persian broadcasts. He called the BBC his 'enemy number one' just as the Islamic Republic is accusing the BBC Persian TV of 'soft power war'. However, at least the Shah admitted towards the end that he had 'heard the voice of the revolution'." Massoumeh Torfeh, Channel 4 News, 11 February 2010. See previous post about same subject.

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