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U.S. Funded Media and the "Soft War" in Iran

Author: Robert McMahon, Managing Editor
October 2010
Foreign Service Journal


The main U.S.-funded broadcasters have long battled the misperception that they are anachronisms using an outmoded medium--radio--in a world that increasingly relies on more diverse forms of communication. In fact, organizations like the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty disseminate information through a wide array of new platforms. In few countries are new media efforts more ambitious, and more closely watched, than in Iran.

The two primary Persian-language broadcasters funded by Congress-- VOA's Persian News Network satellite TV station and RFE/RL's Radio Farda--are 24-hour operations. In addition to their core TV and radio services, they stream extensive content onto their Web sites; transmit local, international and U.S.-focused programming via blogs, Twitter feeds and news alerts to mobile phones; upload videos to YouTube; and manage dynamic Facebook pages.

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