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RFE/RL’s Iranian Service: Radio Farda

Radio Farda breaks through government censorship, providing accurate news and a platform for informed discussion and debate to audiences in Iran.

Fast Facts

  • RFE/RL’s Iranian Service, known as Radio Farda, is a Persian-language alternative to government-controlled media in Iran, reporting on local, national and world events. It is available on shortwave radio, the web, social networks, and satellite radio and TV.
  • Radio Farda is distinguished for its coverage of human rights and political and societal issues that are otherwise underreported or taboo in Iran. This includes documentaries profiling Iran's political prisoners; reports challenging official narratives of historic events; and coverage of social movements, minority issues, and political protests, including mass demonstrations that have broke out across Iran during recent years.
  • Radio Farda has succeeded through innovation. Its programs are customized for mobile phone users; Farda has a total of more than 5 million followers on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Telegram.
  • Facebook and YouTube are blocked in Iran.
  • The government exerts relentless pressure on Radio Farda and its journalists. Its website is permanently blocked, requiring Iranians to use circumvention software to access it. Mobile users of the website have received text warnings that they are accessing an “unauthorized site.” Radio Farda journalists have been subject to online smear campaigns, and their relatives in Iran have endured surveillance, interrogations, and threats.
  • In press freedom rankings, Reporters Without Borders ranks Iran 173 out of 180, describing it as one of the world’s “most oppressive” countries.
  • Since November 2019, several Farsi satellite channels including Radio Farda have been targeted by uplink jamming on Hotbird and Eutelsat 7.


January – December, 2020

  • According to a 2018 national survey of Iran managed by Gallup on behalf of USAGM, 15.7% of Iranian adults use Radio Farda weekly.
  • 76.8% of past-week listeners told Gallup that they trust Radio Farda as a news source; the figure rises to 83.8% when asking multi-platform Farda users.
  • 9.3% of the population listens to Farda’s radio broadcasts. Via audio streaming on its website, an average of 86 million minutes of Farda radio are listened to each month.
  • 8.3% of the population watches Farda TV, which broadcasts a morning talk show and live, hourly newscasts.
  • Despite a government ban, Farda logged a monthly average of 14.0 million visits to its website and 27.8 million page views.
  • Farda has more than 4.6 million combined followers on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Telegram. Almost two-thirds of all website traffic originated inside the country.

Updated: January 2021

Facts & Stats about Iran

  • Population: 82.9 million (World Bank estimate, 2019)
  • Most Common Languages: Persian, Turkic dialects, Kurdish, Luri, Balochi, Arabic
  • Global Freedom Index (Freedom House): Not Free, ranked 16 out of 100 (2020)​
  • Press Freedom Index (RSF): 174 out of 180 (2021)
  • Corruption Index (Transparency Int.): 149 out of 180 (2020)
  • Global Peace Index (IES): 142 out of 163 (2020)
  • Human Rights Watch: Report on Iran (2020)
  • Amnesty International: Iran Report (2021)

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