Monday, June 22, 2009

Special Voice of America Newscasts Keeps Iranians Informed

Currently broadcasting 9 hours of live TV daily

Washington, D.C., June 22, 2009 – As videos, pictures, e-mails and calls from Iran poured into the Voice of America (VOA), the U.S. international broadcaster introduced a two-hour Special Report to keep its millions of viewers informed.

"With the Iranian government crackdown on media operating inside the country, the Persian News Network (PNN) has become a lifeline to our audience, allowing them to know the latest events unfolding there," said Alex Belida, acting director of PNN, which reaches nearly 30 percent of Iranian adults every week by satellite television.

Special Report is preempting regularly scheduled programs, from 6:00-8:00 p.m. Tehran time, at least for this week. PNN also recently introduced a daily breakfast show, The Morning Show, from 7:00-8:00 a.m. Tehran time. The programs examine events in Iran in the aftermath of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's declared victory, the ensuing protests and the global reaction to developments in Iran.

VOA's coverage is drawing an overwhelming reaction from inside Iran. Direct visits to PNN's Internet site from inside the country increased over 800 percent since early June.

Citizens of Iran have sent thousands of videos and pictures - over 300 videos in one 24-hour period - depicting events inside the country. Videos are shown on PNN after careful review. (You can see the latest videos from inside Iran by going to: or by going directly to PNN's YouTube site: ).

PNN's viewers have also sent thousands of e-mails, and posted comments on PNN blogs, Facebook, a dedicated YouTube channel, Twitter and other social media sites. Callers have phoned in to various PNN shows.

VOA's PNN has the largest combined radio and television audience of all international broadcasters in Iran, with nearly one in three adults in Iran watching or listening to PNN broadcasts at least weekly. Research indicates 96 percent of Iranians daily watch TV, which is the preferred medium for getting news and information.