BBC Persian a smashing success

Monday, February 09, 2009

BBC Persian correspondents (or just people being interviewed, I'm not sure) talking live from Paris (left) and Glasgow, Scotland (right).

I'm a big fan myself, and now BBC Persian is the first place I go when I want to hear the language. Apparently it's also a big success in Iran, where:
It seems like everyone’s watching BBC Persian television these days, with the station’s programs quickly replacing the long-held “most popular” standing of VOA Persian television among other satellite TV stations.
That's no surprise - the production quality alone and the fact that it broadcasts for 8 hours a day, seven days a week makes it pretty addictive.

As written before, the government in Iran is not all that happy about a broadcaster broadcasting in their language but without being influenced by them at all:
Authorities in Tehran have reacted shrilly to the appearance of a news source that can reach an Iranian audience, but which they themselves cannot directly control. Some Iranian officials have termed BBC Persian as an "illegal" channel, and have publicly stated that they will do their utmost to keep its programming from reaching an Iranian audience. Any Iranian inside Iran caught contributing to BBC Persian broadcasts will be punished, and the BBC journalists working for the English-language service in Tehran will be closely monitored, officials have cautioned.

A survey of the Persian-language blogosphere shows that the BBC Persian channel is stoking a lock of chatter. A blogger posting on the Modakhele site commented that the BBC Persian service had aroused the ire of the Iranian leadership precisely because of its effectiveness in presenting a different point of view, other than the officially endorsed one. Another blogger, identified as Arash, predicted that BBC Persian would soon capture a commanding market share. "The quality of BBC Persian TV’s programs was excellent and beyond my expectations. I am sure that soon it will gain a special standing in Iran," the blogger wrote. "It is run very professionally and proficiently. . . . It is much more proficient than the VOA."

Various statistics suggest that up to 60 percent of Iran’s roughly 70 million population would have relatively easy access to BBC Persian’s satellite broadcasts. At present, the leading foreign broadcaster in Farsi is Voice of America (VOA) TV. Iranian political experts say VOA TV’s flaws are giving BBC Persian a chance to fast inroads...

One concrete example of a reason why a quality broadcaster like BBC in the Persian language is so important can be seen in this article. Mohammad Khatami announced yesterday that he would be running for president again. So how much attention was this given in the media inside Iran? Well:
More than an hour after Khatami’s announcement, Iran’s state-run television channels had yet to mention it; 30 minutes further on, Channel 2 gave it a few seconds at the end of its newscast.
On BBC Persian however, this news was at the top of the program as soon as he made the announcement.

If you want to see what BBC Persian looks like, just go here. Or you can go to this page to see all the other programs besides the central 1-hour newscast, like:

Page Two (صفحه دو):
Click (کلیک):
Reporters (خبرنگاران):
and a ton of others.


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