An Iranian man uses a computer in an internet cafe in central Tehran, Iran,
An Iranian man uses a computer in an internet cafe in central Tehran, Iran CAP Images)

BBG Data Show Internet, Satellite Usage in Iran at All-Time Highs

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Washington, D.C. — Two-thirds of Iranian households have access to computers and 39 percent of Iranians surf the Internet weekly, new data gathered for the Broadcasting Board of Governors show.


The BBG unveiled the findings about how Iranians use television, radio, and digital media at the inaugural event of the BBG Research Series, which is conducted in partnership with Gallup.   “The series aims to broaden public understanding of media in the generally closed societies targeted by the BBG by sharing research data funded with taxpayer dollars and largely unavailable through commercial sources,” noted Bruce Sherman, director of strategy and development for the BBG.

The new data from Iran provide insights on how Iranians receive and share information as well as how trustworthy they consider their media sources to be. The findings reveal a technologically connected society with 100% of respondents having a working television in their household and 90% having a working mobile phone in their household. The spread of computer and Internet use is taking place across both genders, the data show, and overall Internet use has doubled in the past 2 years.

“Iranians are quite sophisticated at knowing what to use each form of media for,” said William Bell, director of research for the International Broadcasting Bureau. Bell added that younger Iranian populations tend to be more open to external media, especially Internet-delivered content.

Television continues to be the dominant medium, with 86% of the population using TV as a source of daily news and information. Past interviews have shown Iranians to be savvy consumers of state-controlled news channels. One 2011 research participant said viewers follow state news channels “to evaluate what they are reporting” and “to see what the policy of the government is.”

The findings were gathered by Gallup during telephone interviews with 2,000 subjects from all 31 of the country’s provinces during March.

The BBG’s global audience research program is conducted in partnership with Gallup and is a valuable informational asset for the current and future operations of the agency’s broadcasts in 59 languages to more than 100 countries.

“This effort is in support of BBG’s mission to inform, engage and connect people around the world in support of freedom and democracy,” said Chris Stewart, Gallup’s senior managing consultant.

The Broadcasting Board of Governors is an independent federal agency, supervising all U.S. government-supported, civilian international broadcasting, whose mission is inform, engage and connect people around the world in support of freedom and democracy. BBG broadcasts reach an audience of 187 million in 100 countries. BBG networks include the Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, the Middle East Broadcasting Networks (Alhurra TV and Radio Sawa), Radio Free Asia, and the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (Radio and TV Martí).