Romm’s observations about Iran uninformed

In reference to the post by Tony Romm today, “Kaufman, others call for more Web censorship circumvention effort in Iran,” the Broadcasting Board of Governors fully recognizes the importance of broadcasting to Iran and part of that is helping Iranians overcome online censorship. We do so through a number of innovative programs including use of proxy services and circumvention software.

What you might not realize and what we’d like to see corrected are that the Voice of America was established in 1942 and the Broadcasting Board of Governors was established by the International Broadcasting Act of 1994 (not 1976 as noted online).

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In addition, our broadcasts to Iran have remarkable success in reaching 30% of the adult audience, even in the face of censorship and signal interference. In June of last year, VOA’s Persian News Network (PNN) covered every aspect of the election crisis in Iran, adding a one-hour morning show to its seven-hour daily TV schedule as well as a one-hour “special report” in the evening.  Iranian citizen journalists sent VOA 300 videos daily, along with thousands of still pictures, e-mails, and telephone calls. PNN used Twitter, blogs, Facebook and YouTube pages to inform Iranians about developments inside their country and website traffic from Iran ballooned by 500 percent in June. It is unfortunate to see the success of that Persian broadcasts of VOA and its sister broadcast Radio Farda of RFE/RL overlooked as broadcasting “to no avail” as Romm observed.

Many thanks for your effort to correct the facts.

Washington