More Iranians Getting News From VOA

Voice of America’s audience in Iran grew sharply in 2012, according to new research data released Tuesday.

The Gallup poll, conducted in March, shows VOA’s TV weekly audience grew to 21.4%, up from 6.5% in 2011. With the addition of radio and the Internet, VOA’s total audience reach in Iran is now estimated at 22.1%.

Voice of America’s Persian TV programs were taken off the popular Hotbird satellite in mid-2010, contributing to a sharp dip in audience figures from the previously estimated 20%. Resumption of VOA service on Hotbird shortly before this new survey played a role in restoring VOA’s audience, researchers say.

“This new data underscores the growing importance of satellite television in Iran, and the critical role that international broadcasters like Voice of America can play in providing balanced news coverage in a highly restrictive media environment,” says VOA Director David Ensor.

“Millions of people in Iran turn to VOA and other international broadcasters to fill in the gaps left by state controlled outlets,” Ensor says.

The Gallup poll, carried out under a contract with the U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors’ Audience Research Program, found that while 86% of Iranians get news and information from domestic television, only 49% found the broadcasts “very trustworthy.”

Internet usage is also growing sharply in Iran, with 43% saying they had Internet access in their homes.

In the past year, Voice of America’s Persian Service has updated its schedule and introduced a number of show changes, including the addition of the new program, Inside the USA, which shows Iranian audiences various aspects of American life and American institutions.

For more about this release contact Kyle King at the VOA Public Relations office in Washington at (202) 203-4959 or email kking@voanews.com.

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