The popular revolts shaking the Arab world have also made their way to Iran, but with stiff push-back from the government. We took a look at “Parazit,” the Voice of America’s popular Farsi language television show produced in Washington, D.C,. to see what millions of people in Iran have been watching weekly instead of state run news. The program — now in its second season — is webcast and broadcast by satellite into Iran, but the government often jams it, thus the name “Parazit,” or static.
The “Parazit” duo are Kambiz Hosseini and Saman Arbabi. Hosseini studied theater in Iran and worked as an art critic. He left for the United States in 2000 after encountering increasingly restrictive conditions. He met Arbabi, who immigrated to the United States in 1985 because his parents were worried he would be drafted to fight in the Iran-Iraq war. The two worked at VOA’s Persian News Network, and one night at a bar came up with their dream job: “Parazit.”
We knew that the show was going to work because of what happened after the election in Iran,” says Hosseini. “All of the sudden you had a huge population of youth inside Iran becoming interested in politics.”
Says Arbabi: “We’re talking about the actual news. We’re talking about the content of it but it’s without the ‘B.S.’ around it…if you have a sense of humor, then you reflect it in a funny way.”
Jeffrey Brown caught up with the co-creators at VOA recently:
You can find the transcript here. Below is more of their conversation not seen on Monday’s NewsHour: