(PRAGUE, Czech Republic
) More than a million people inside Iran circumvented aggressive censorship and logged on to RFE/RL's Persian-language website
in July through a proxy server, a system ensuring the anonymity of its users. It was the first time Radio Farda's proxy server recorded a million visits since it was put in place in April 2009. In addition, the site received 40,000 visits on Sunday, August 15 - a record high for a day without breaking news.
"The more Tehran starves Iranians of accurate news, the hungrier the people become for reliable information," says Radio Farda Director Armand Mostofi. "These are the latest milestones for Radio Farda in a year of unprecedented growth, reflecting the commitment we made to step up our programming following the disputed presidential election."
The more Tehran starves Iranians of accurate news, the hungrier the people become for reliable information.
Since the post-election protests, Radio Farda has added two new live shows, including the enormously popular satire, Pas Farda
(The Day After Tomorrow), which attracts a growing radio audience and generates hundreds of comments each weekday from its 8,500+ Facebook fans
. The show's host, Farshid Manafi
, is a well-known Iranian personality who pushes the limits on critical satire. Four years ago, his lively programs on state television and radio were shut down by censors, and he was fired.
Every Friday at 6pm Tehran time, a new live call-in program called The Sixth Hour
takes questions and comments from dozens of listeners on hot-button topics such as capital punishment, the student protest movement, and the role of Persian-language media based outside of Iran.
In total (the proxy server plus regular web traffic), Radio Farda's website drew more than 4.3 million visits last month. Users viewed nearly 13 million web pages and downloaded more than a million hours of audio programming.
"Without a doubt, the government will keep trying to jam our signals, disrupt our website, and harass our people," says Mostofi. "But our audience numbers prove that Iranians are yearning for reliable news, and we will continue finding ways of delivering it to them."About Radio Farda
Radio Farda broadcasts on short wave, medium wave, the Internet
, and satellite radio to Iran 24 hours-a-day and is one of the only remaining sources of independent information available in the country. Despite severe censorship, Radio Farda attracts more than 12 million monthly web page views and has over 45,000 Facebook