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Keeping Iranians Informed


“Today a lot of people were gathering downtown. They wanted to voice their objections,” said the caller. “Police forces were trying to force the people, not let them into the streets,” she continued.

Identifying herself only as Saidi, from Ahvaz, this Iranian was one of many calling into VOA’s Persian call-in show, Straight Talk, to describe what is going on inside Iran in the wake of the country’s recent presidential election. Dissatisfied with President Ahmadinejad’s victory claims and the government’s attempts to quash dissent and reports of dissent, the Iranian people are taking to the streets to protest. Voice of America, particularly VOA’s Persian News Network, is closely covering developments and keeping the people of Iran informed, as well as giving them an outlet to let the world know what is happening inside the country.

During Iran’s presidential campaign, PNN reached out to all political candidates, obtaining interviews with a wide range of experts and representatives, and profiling all major candidates. As in most elections, this presidential election brought to the surface much emotion and fiery demonstrations. It also brought a first-time presidential debate, unexpected competition, surprising rallies, and an uncertain result.
“Iranian Reformist Candidate Says Tackling Economy First Priority” 
  - VOA news story

VOA’s programs provided an impartial view on politics in Iran and coverage of the candidates. A special election unit coordinated reports and features related to the Iranian election, producing more than 90 stories illuminating the issues, process, candidates and their views.

VOA Executive Editor Steve Redisch interviewed by WUSA reporter Peggy Fox  VOA’s Persian coverage has attracted heavy media coverage, including recent visits for first-hand access from CNN, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Washington, DC’s Channel 9 News, National Public Radio and TV2 Norway. 

Much of the attention focuses on not only PNN’s live coverage and in-depth stories, but increasingly on the “citizen journalist” video pouring in from inside Iran, and the growing followings to PNN’s Twitter and Facebook accounts. 

With interest so high and news changing so rapidly, VOA added an additional hour of Persian television shortly after the election. The new breakfast show, airing at 7:00 a.m. in Iran, turns viewers to PNN early, and the shows that follow keep them with VOA to get the latest updates.

by Kiara Smith

Voice of America currently broadcasts 8 hours of Persian TV daily, along with an hour of radio. More information is available at www.voapnn.com.