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Media Watch | Al Jazeera Takes On 'Parazit'

18 Nov 2011 20:59Comments

[ media watch ] On Thursday, Al Jazeera's The Stream grilled Kambiz Hosseini and Saman Arbabi, co-hosts of the satirical television program Parazit, which is broadcast to Iran by the U.S.-funded Voice of America. "Can the VOA help Iran's pro-reform movement," The Stream host Imran Garda wanted to know, "or is it peddling Washington's agenda?" Al Jazeera itself is owned by the state of Qatar.

"Parazit is much, much more popular than any program on BBC Persian," in the words of a blogger popular in Iran. But does the fact that the U.S. government funds it undermine its credibility? Probably as much as the British government's support for BBC Persian, judging from reaction to the show on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media. In that regard, Parazit has been able not only to successfully distinguish itself from other programming on VOA Farsi, which is struggling to improve its brand, but it's emerged more influential than anything offered by network rival BBC Persian -- no easy task.

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