PRESS RELEASE - Washington, D.C., February 22, 2008 - Iranian women's activist and journalist Parvin Ardalan told Voice of America's (VOA) Persian News Network (PNN) today that "If you were a woman living in Iran, you would realize soon enough that you have to struggle to obtain your rights."
Ardalan recently won the 2007 Olof Palme Prize for calling for equal rights for men and women as a central part of the struggle for democracy in Iran. She will receive the award, named after the late Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme who was assassinated in 1986, at a March 6 ceremony in Stockholm.
Speaking by phone from Iran during the live hour-long Roundtable With You broadcast, Ardalan said that "It is an honor for me to receive this award because it magnifies the voices of Iranian women all over the world." When asked whether her most recent court summons is connected to the award, Ardalan said, "There was no reason given for my court summons." She continued, "People are not notified why they are being summoned. You don't know until you get to court, and they announce the charges against you."
As a founder and active member of the One Million Signatures Campaign, a movement that aims to establish equal rights for women in Iranian society, Ardalan explained that "Our objective by launching this campaign is to remove all these legal discriminations based on gender like divorce laws, children's custody...." She added, "These discriminations are enshrined in Iranian law."
Roundtable With You is a daily, 60-minute Persian TV call-in show (9:00-10:00 P.M. in Iran) that features interviews with newsmakers and personalities in the news. VOA has the largest combined radio and television audience of all international broadcasters in Iran, with one in four adult Iranians tuning into a VOA show at least once a week. Programs are also streamed on our website, www.VOAPNN.com.
The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors. VOA broadcasts more than 1,250 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of more than 115 million people. Programs are produced in 45 languages.
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