tehranbureau An independent source of news on Iran and the Iranian diaspora

Iran Media Guide


10 Dec 2009 09:531 Comment


irib.gifIRIB or the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (Farsi: Seda va Sima, or 'Voice and Vision'), is the state monopoly broadcaster (radio and television) directly overseen by the office of the Supreme Leader, who appoints the director. IRIB is currently headed by Ezatollah Zarghami, a former Revolutionary Guard officer.

IRIB operates five nationwide channels and a rolling news channel, as well as 30 provincial (local) channels. It also has an international service with three stations broadcasting in foreign languages.

Television and radio broadcasts are streamed live over the internet via a live portal page at http://live.irib.ir.


* Channel 1 "National Network"
* Channel 2 "Culture Network"
* Channel 3 "Youth Network"
* Channel 4 "Knowledge Network"
* Channel 5 "Tehran Network"
* Channel 6 "News Network" (IRINN)


Al Alam is an Arabic-language channel, launched in 2003 with a style of presentation similar to that of the major pan-Arab satellite news channels such as Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya.

Jam-e-Jam, launched in 1997, describes itself as broadcasting to expatriates, Persian speakers, and those interested in the culture and civilization of Iran. Jam-e Jam features a mix of general programming, some with English subtitles.

Press TV is a 24-hour English-language news channel, launched 2007.

Sahar is a ultilingual channel broadcasting in Kurdish, Urdu, Azeri, and Bosnian, launched 1990.


bbcpersian.jpgBBC Persian Television, launched in 2009, is a newcomer; but its radio service has been around since 1940, and its website since 2000. Based in London and funded by the UK government with an annual budget of £15 million, the TV station has 8 hours of programming a day, including news segments every half hour interspersed with a variety of cultural programs, as well as a popular interactive program for audience commentary on weekdays, and a documentary program airing works by independent Iranian filmmakers.

VOA Persian Voice of America's Persian News Network (VOA PNN), funded by the U.S. government, based in Washington, D.C., launched in 2006, estimated audience 30% of adults in Iran, 8 hours of programming a day, including popular "News & Views" newscast, "News Talk" panel, and "Late Edition" variety show, other panels, and documentaries on American history subtitled in Persian.

WIN a Washington-based channel launched in September 2009, broadcasting 1.5 hours of newscasts and analysis daily.

MBC Persia UAE-based, launched in 2009, movies with Farsi subtitles.

Expatriate stations

There are more than 20 expatriate channels broadcasting on satellite into Iran, with most based in Los Angeles. The oldest were established in the 1980s to serve the large expatriate community that developed in Southern California after the revolution; the stations now target a wider audience inside Iran. A number of exile channels with explicit political stances are associated with fringe groups -- monarchists, communists, and Islamist socialists -- and are widely viewed as being out of touch. The most popular stations are those with entertainment programming, such as Tapesh, Tamasha, Rangarang, and the Dubai-based PMC (Persian Music Channel).


IRIB and other state radio stations include Nationwide Radio. Cultural Radio, Youth Radio, Maaref Radio, English Maaref Radio, Payam Radio, Quran Radio, Sports Radio, Worldservice1, Worldservice2, Worldservice3, Worldservice4, Worldservice5, Worldservice6, Dari Radio, Sedaye Ashena1, Sedaye Ashena2, Sedaye Ashena3, Tehran Radio, Salamat Radio, Goftegoo Radio, Tejarat Radio, Ava Radio, Nava Radio.

Radio BBC launched in 1940, this is the oldest foreign-based radio station in Iran.

Radio Farda based in Prague, funded by the U.S. government, most popular foreign-based radio service, broadcasts a mix of news, programs, and music.

Radio Zamaneh based in Amsterdam, partly funded by Dutch government.

Other stations with Persian services (1-2 hours per day):

China Radio International

Deutsche Welle

Radio France Internationale

Voice of Israel

Voice of Russia

News agencies

Fars a semi-official news agency, i.e., with ties to the government, considered the "Fox News" of Iran, launched in 2002.

ILNA is the Iranian Labor News Agency, which belongs is a news agency belonging to the Workers' House, a labor union set up by the Iranian government. It is considered closer to the reform movement than other news agencies.

IRNA Islamic Republic News Agency: the official state news agency, IRNA is Iran's oldest news agency (founded in 1934 under the name Pars News Agency and changed its name after the 1979 revolution). It is government-funded and operates under the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance; its current managing director is Mohammad Khademol-Melleh.

ISNA Iranian Student News Agency: news agency run by university students, most of them on a volunteer basis. Established in 1999, ISNA is considered more independent and moderate than IRNA.

Mehr launched in 2003 and owned by the Islamic Propagation Organization (IPO). Parviz Esmaeili is the managing director (he also heads the Tehran Times).

Domestic press

The first newspaper in Iran rolled off the press in 1835. Newspapers and news sites may be divided into three broad categories in terms of editorial stance: hardliner, centrist, and reformist.

Hardliner press and news sites

kayhan.jpgKayhan (Universe) One of the country's oldest daily papers, run after the revolution by the office of the Supreme Leader, who appoints the editor-in-chief, currently Hossein Shariatmadari. Kayhan is state-funded and has a role comparable to "Pravda" under Stalin. Circulation of 100,000; read by a conservative, religious audience. Kayhan has consistently taken a hard line on domestic and foreign policy issues; it often publishes articles slamming those it deems working for 'foreign agencies.'

Jomhouri Eslami (Islamic Republic) is still considered to be closely linked to the Supreme Leader. The paper takes the line of adherence to Khomeini's ideals and has consistently taken a radical position on foreign policy issues and a conservative position on domestic and religious issues. Known for slamming opposition and intellectual figures, although its influence does not match up to Kayhan.

Resalat (Message) Established in 1985 and owned by the Resalat Foundation, which has strong links to the traditional bazaar merchants-conservative but in favor of a market economy. It reflects the views of the conservative Islamic Coalition Party and the Islamic Association of Engineers. Circulation: 50,000, read by a conservative, religious audience. Managing editor Morteza Nabavi is a member of the Expediency Council.

Iran an official government newspaper published by IRNA, the state news agency. Circulation of more than 100,000; popular with government clerks and office workers favoring Ahmadinejad.

Jam-e Jam (Cup of Life) owned by the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting. Its circulation of 450,000 makes it the biggest-selling paper apart from the sports papers. One reason for its popularity is its availability: Jam-e-Jam prints in several cities across Iran and therefore gets copies to newsstands before competing Tehran-based papers are delivered with delay to provincial cities. Editorials and commentaries reflect the conservative approach of the IRIB.

Raja News a pro-government news site owned by Fatemeh Rajabi, wife of Gholam-Hossein Elham, a government spokesman and one of Ahmadinejad's most trusted confidants.

Sepah News official news site of the Revolutionary Guard ("Sepah" in Farsi)

Ansar News affiliated with the hardliner vigilante group Ansar Hezbollah.

Javan is a right-wing daily affiliated with the Revolutionary Guards.

Tehran Times
and Iran Daily are pro-government English-language newspapers

Ya-Lesarat al-Hossein very conservative Tehran weekly, organ of Ansar Hezbollah.

Centrist press and news sites

Parleman News official news site of the Imam's Path fraction of the Majlis, or Iranian parliament. The site was briefly blocked by the government following the June elections, but was reopened after lobbying by parliamentarians and the Majlis speaker.

Tabnak a news website closely associated with Mohsen Rezai, a Princlipist (conservative) candidate in the 2009 presidential election.

Hamshahri (Fellow Citizen) owned by Tehran Municipality, it is one of the best-selling dailies with a circulation of about 350,000. It was the first paper in Iran to print in color. Hamshashri was established during the Rafsanjani period under Tehran mayor Gholamhossein Karbaschi. Unlike other state-funded papers, Hamshahri brings in high revenues due to its comprehensive classified section.

Kargozaran (Executives) owned by Hashemi Rafsanjani's centrist Executives of Construction party Kargozaran party, the paper was banned in January 2009 after publishing a report on the Gaza war in condemnation of Hamas.

Ettela'at (Information) Iran's oldest daily, moderate, a newspaper of record; one of its popular features is the obituary section. Circulation 60-90,000. It also publishes an international edition in London and New York with an English section.

Tehran Emrooz a newly-founded daily set up by a member of the Guardian Council, and close to Tehran Mayor Mohammad-Bager Ghalibaf.

Sarmayeh was an economic paper run by a former head of the Tehran Stock Exchange, and shut down in October 2009.

Reformist press and news sites

(Trust) Reformist daily run by a leading member of the National Trust party and former MP, Elias Hazrati. Launched in 2002, Etemad is one of the few pro-reform papers still in circulation.

Etemad Melli (National Trust) owned by Mehdi Karroubi's National Trust party, this leading Reformist daily was shut down in 2009 following the presidential election. Its editor-in-chief, Mohammad Ghouchani, was detained in June and released after four months in prison.

Shargh top Khatami-era Reformist paper, shut down in 2006.

Mardom Salari
(Democracy) owned by the pro-reform Mardom Salari party, the paper was launched in 2001 and has not been shut down to date.

Aftab-e Yazd (Sun of Yazd) a regional paper that went national in 2000 (ex-President Mohammed Khatami is from Yazd) as a way to circumvent the closure of other dailies; affiliated with the Militant Clerics Society and aides to Khatami. Circulation: 160,000.

Mowj Camp website affiliated with opposition figure Mir Hossein Mousavi, after his official website Ghalam News was reportedly hacked in August 2009.

Independent pro-reform news sites


Asr Iran

Farda News


Khabar Online



Rahe Sabz

Student press

AUT NEWS Amir Kabir University of Technology (Tehran Polytechnic)

Web publications in Farsi based outside Iran

Balatarin is the most popular Farsi-language website, especially for those in Iran. At its core, acts as a user-generated news aggregator similar to Digg.

BBC Persian

Radio Farda


Mardomak was launched in 2008 by the International Foundation for Electoral Systems. This online news site aims to "promote civic engagement and political dialogue in Iran." Features include interactive maps, online polls, and political scorecards for elected officials. Funded by the U.S. government.

Rooz (Day) is a Farsi-language internet daily, Rooz was launched in 2005 and is based in France. It is produced by self-described "independent reformist journalists supporting freedom and human rights." Some of its contributors live in exile, while others work in Iran.

Tehran Bureau was launched on Nov. 5, 2008 in Boston and is now affiliated with the PBS documentary series Frontline.

VOA Persian

Washington Prism is a weekly online journal of culture, politics and public affairs. Launched in 2005, it is part of the World Security Institute, a nonprofit "committed to independent research and journalism on global affairs."

Copyright © 2009 Tehran Bureau

SHAREtwitterfacebookSTUMBLEUPONbalatarin reddit digg del.icio.us

1 Comment

"Web publications in Farsi based outside Iran"

Our language is and has been "Persian". "Farsi" is a new invention which--intended or not--robs us from lineage to our heritage and rich culture.




Wish you best of luck with your invaluable work.

Behrad Nakhai

Behrad Nakhai / December 17, 2009 10:01 PM