28 January 2008

How VOA Helps, Part 2

For the second installment of our How VOA Helps, originally triggered by an email from a listener in Africa, I asked our Persian service, known here as Persian News Network or PNN, to share some of the emails they receive daily from their audience.

One program in particular broadcast on PNN has proven quite important: a show called ”Today's Woman”. Emailers say it has helped more men in Iran understand women and the issues they face politically, legally, and socially. In many cases, it has, as one emailer noted, “opened the door for Iranian families to have open discussions on subjects that are often taboo in Iranian society.”

Here is a sampling of some other emails shared by PNN with us here at the VOA News Blog:

From a journalist and blogger in Iran: “In recent months, [as you know, from your reports on the matter], Iranian authorities have cracked down on dog owners and detained their dogs, claiming they are impure according to Islam http://www.globalvoicesonline.org/2007/09/13/iran-dogs-arrested . I was the object of a complaint from the Iranian president’s office and was detained on November 26. Several Iranian blogs and web sites say the main reason I was arrested is because I revealed that Ahmadinejad’s security staff bought four dogs from Germany.... I want you to know that I believe VOA’s report on my detention was instrumental in securing my release. Thank you for your effective programming.”

From a young viewer in Iran: “Thank you guys for the wonderful job you do every night. You bring joy to our homes. You guys ROCK. I wanted to ask you to play a video from the rock band QUEEN. Their music is so popular in Iran but you kind of ignore them. It would be awesome if you could pick one of the many great songs they have and play it at the end of your program. Thanks again and keep up the great job.”

From a male viewer in Iran: “After 10 years of listening and watching VOA, I am sending you my first e-mail. I was on my way to work today for a private company when the government announced a two day holiday. A radio reporter stopped me for an interview and actually had the audacity to ask me to thank officials for city services . . . when all city services [during the difficult days of this blizzard] have been stopped! This is the kind of news we hear on the radio in the Islamic Republic.”

From Ali Dizaei, senior police official in London, interviewed on Roundtable with You January 6 on Scotland Yard’s investigation into the assassination of Benazir Bhutto: “It would have been remiss of me not to e-mail VOA and let you know about the incredible feedback I have had due to my interview. You may recall that the last time I had an interview with VOA, my Yahoo e-mail account collapsed as I received over 1000 emails in 24 hours! That is why I was reluctant for VOA to put my e-mail address on the screen this time. However, I decided to increase the size of my inbox and the response has been incredible. It seems our community, like [most people], is fascinated with anything to do with the police. Police dramas are often the best watched in UK and probably across the world. This may explain why when the viewers see a senior police officer, they become fascinated with the story. But I believe there is a sense of patriotism at play here in the Iranian community. I think people feel particularly proud when they see a senior Scotland Yard officer who is of Iranian origin on their TV screen, especially in Iran where young people’s opportunities to find their true potential is constrained. This may explain the reason for this massive response.”

From a woman viewer in Ramsar: “As long as there are uneducated people in Iran and [others are in a position] to take advantage of their beliefs, [we will] have to observe crimes like amputations. The best remedy for all the long-suffered problems in Iran would be exposing [people] to free information and the chance to compare themselves with others around the world in order to see what is going on in civilized countries. This is the exact thing the [Iranian people] have been deprived of for three decades.”

As a final note, let us mention an article that appeared January 23rd on the website of the Kuwait Times titled “What Iranians are watching.” The full item can be read at:

But here is one excerpt involving satellite TV broadcasts into Iran:

“Among the most popular of these is the Persian service of the Voice of America. Operated by the US government, the channel has attracted a large audience because of its high-quality programming and because it is seen as the only independent source of Persian-language TV news. The channel claims to have 10 million viewers a day, and is considered one of the most important sources of news and information in the country. The channel's popularity has prompted the BBC to launch its own Persian news channel.”

To learn more about VOA’s Persian programs, go to: http://www.voanews.com/persian/
The link for the program “Today's Woman” : http://www.voanews.com/persian/_-todays-woman.cfm and for “Roundtable” : http://www.voanews.com/persian/_-roundtable.cfm

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear VOA members
I am living in Viet Nam
I am following the"Ching Hai International Meditation Association" .Now our member through out Viet Nam have being suppressed by the goverment capaign .
Please visite website :
I just translated the content ;
On may 9th ,2008, Authority of Soc Trang Province ,break in to Mrs Tu house at An Ninh village , An Lac Commune , Ke Sach District ,catch in act 51 people during sit quietly for meditation ,..Then the authority confiscated :1 settellite TV , 2 TV 21 inches ,15 dish VCds , 7 pictures, 1 cassette ,1VCVD machine, 65 matress..and be punished 20000000vnd with reason disorder security at the local.But infact we are just gather for quiet meditation only.PLease visite our religous website to know more our practice method and our religion :www.godsdirectcontact.com
In Viet Nam the Cummunism are Atheism .They wrote down this paper to soil our spiritual Religion .They falsify our religion,then crack down on our member in Viet Nam .
Some our member in the midle of Viet Nam had break in to house on june 10th , 2008 in order to confiscate all religious material and ask our memeber following this religion is against the law .They are tracking down me too.
I write this letter send to You ,please show it in the public for all people know how the Viet Namese communism crack down on religion and all people support Hr 3096 become the law as soon as possible for religious freedom in Viet Nam.Viet Namese love peace ,wish freedom for religion ,speaking and democracy. We hope will have the new Freedom Vietnam country throught support Hr 3096 strongly by American
Thanks alot