WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the government of Iran added RFE/RL’s Persian-language service, known locally as Radio Farda, to a list of individuals and organizations sanctioned for supporting international terrorism or inciting violence.
For over 12 weeks, Radio Farda has covered Iran’s historic demonstrations that began in the aftermath of Mahsa Amini’s death. Through deeply sourced investigative reporting, exclusive interviews with protesters’ families and friends, and verified user-generated content, RFE/RL journalists are documenting the truth about the regime’s victims -- including their identities -- despite the Iranian government’s ongoing campaign to deceive the public and intimidate minority communities.
“Today’s designation is an absurd manipulation of the truth, straight out of every authoritarian playbook,” said RFE/RL President and CEO Jamie Fly. “The reality is that each day, the Iranian regime kills men, women, and children protesting for a better future, blames the victims, and abuses their families. Through it all, Radio Farda is trusted by sources and audiences alike to report on what is really happening.”
Despite significant state censorship, Radio Farda’s audience is growing. From the start of the protests on September 16 through November 30, Radio Farda’s video views increased 408% on YouTube and 619% on Instagram, compared to the same period last year. Social media growth has been driven by coverage that has gone viral. Radio Farda is also accessible in Iran via shortwave radio, playing an essential role for Iranians during a crisis in which the regime has attempted at times to block or slow Internet access.
RFE/RL’s service for Iran is one of the most popular and trusted media outlets in Iran, providing award-winning uncensored Persian-language news. Radio Farda is known for its in-depth coverage of the Iranian regime and its innovative use of anti-censorship technologies to reach audiences. Farda has a growing digital presence with millions of video and page views on its websites, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.
RFE/RL relies on its networks of local reporters to provide accurate news and information to more than 37 million people every week in 27 languages and 23 countries where media freedom is restricted, or where a professional press has not fully developed. Its videos were viewed 7 billion times on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram/IGTV in FY2021. RFE/RL is an editorially independent media company funded by a grant from the U.S. Congress through the U.S. Agency for Global Media.