VOA and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty unveiled its new Persian service, VOA 365 at a showcase event on Washington DC’s Capitol Hill.
The new network provides 24/7 Persian language programming aimed at informing and engaging Iranian audiences and the Persian-speaking diaspora around the world, a top priority of the U.S. Agency for Global Media, the parent agency of VOA and RFE/RL.
“I am excited to launch this new network in such a challenging region. VOA 365 is poised to be a beacon of unfiltered news for Persian speakers around the world,” USAGM’s CEO and Director John Lansing said in his welcoming remarks at the event.
Expanding on VOA Persian’s and Radio Farda’s reach and measures of trustworthiness, the new network will confront the disinformation efforts of the Iranian regime and enhance U.S. efforts to speak directly to the Iranian people at a pivotal time in U.S.-Iran relations. VOA 365 offers more news in real time with updated studios and an expanded pool of correspondents in New York, Los Angeles, London, Irbil, Prague and other European cities.
The network offers new programming such as Chess — a roundtable discussion focusing on the Tehran regime’s violations in the social, political, economic, and social spheres; Max Wheel – a program hosted by well-known Iranian-American, Max Amini, in Los Angeles where he takes the wheel behind cars ranging from rare and classic to the latest models and Straight Talk — a social media-driven series that shares views from Iranian audiences and the diaspora in a new interactive format. New high-quality acquisitions from CNN, ABC News, National Geographic TV and the Smithsonian Channel will round out VOA 365’s 24/7 programming schedule.
“We are taking another bold step forward to meet the desperate need of Iranian audiences for fact-based information and news from outside their country,” said Voice of America Director, Amanda Bennett. “We are also providing more cultural and entertaining content that gives an inside look into what American life and the American people are like.”
“RFE/RL is proud to partner with Voice of America on the launch of VOA 365, through our daily ‘Breakfast with News’ show and hourly news breaks,” said RFE/RL Acting President Daisy Sindelar. “As with our previous collaboration on the Russian-language Current Time network, VOA 365 intensifies the strengths of USAGM’s Persian-language programming to better serve our audiences in Iran.”
At the launch event a panel comprised of Gregg Sullivan from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, Mike Pregent from the Hudson Institute and Behnam Ben Taleblu from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, analyzed the current media environment in Iran. A second panel with the VOA Director, the Director of VOA Persian/VOA 365, Setareh Derakhshesh and RFE/RL’s Radio Farda Director, Mehdi Parpanchi, presented the new network’s profile.