Washington, D.C., May 12, 2005 -- The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) today announced a significant increase in satellite television news broadcast into Iran.
The Voice of America (VOA) program "News & Views," which for nearly two years has been a nightly 30-minute direct-to-home satellite TV broadcast, is doubling in length leading up to Iran's June 17th presidential election. The hour-long Persian-language program will now air five times a day: the original show live during Iran's prime time, plus four repeats with updates as events warrant.
"News & Views" is covering the election, the reformist candidates, and the calls to boycott the election and for a new referendum. The expanded coverage, funded by the emergency spending bill just passed into law, will be in addition to "News & Views'" regular news reporting, offering news from Iran along with world news round-ups, analyses of issues and events, and special interest and cultural features. The longer show will also feature a women's segment, business and medical reports, and reports from correspondents covering news from Washington, DC.
"Strong coverage of what's happening in Iran and what's happening around the world is one of the most important things America can do for the Iranian people. These five hours will effectively cover prime time," said BBG chairman Kenneth Y. Tomlinson. "As Thomas Friedman has explained, satellite television is not only the most important media development in the greater Middle East, it is also the most important political development."
Tomlinson added, "By placing expansion of TV to Iran in the supplemental, the Bush White House and Congress demonstrated its support for what international broadcasting is doing in that part of the world."
The supplemental appropriation includes $7.3 million for the BBG to support expansion of programming to the broader Middle East, including expanding Arabic-language Alhurra satellite television to Europe. The BBG continues to blanket Iran with 24/7 radio broadcasting by VOA and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
The BBG is an independent federal agency which supervises all U.S. government-supported non-military international broadcasting, including the Voice of America (VOA), Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL); the Middle East Television Network (Alhurra); Radio Free Asia (RFA); Office of Cuba Broadcasting (Radio and TV Martí); Radio Sawa and Radio Farda. Through its broadcast services, the BBG provides the United States and its leaders direct and immediate access to a worldwide audience of over 140 million people. Nine members comprise the BBG, a bipartisan presidentially appointed body. Current governors are Chairman Kenneth Y. Tomlinson, Joaquin Blaya, Blanquita W. Cullum, D. Jeffrey Hirschberg, Edward E. Kaufman, Norman J. Pattiz, and Steven Simmons. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice serves as an ex officio member.
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