BBC Persian Television is the BBC’s Persian language news channel that was launched on 14 January 2009. The service is broadcast by satellite and is also available online. It is aimed at the 100 million Persian speakers in Iran, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. BBC Persian is one of the most watched channels watched among Persian speakers.
The channel broadcasts from London for eight hours every day. Programms cover a variety of subjects including current affairs, documentaries, culture, science, business and the arts. Entertainment programms such as BBC Sound and Top Gear are broadcast with Persian dubbing.
The annual budget of £15 million was funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. BBC remains editorially independent, though some Iranian media have accused the British Government of using the service as a propaganda tool. The Iranian government issued a statement denouncing the new service as ‘suspicious and illegal’, and ‘working against the interests of the Islamic Republic’. On 1 April 2014, all World Service funding transfers to the Licence Fee model, which is paid for by all UK residents who watch television as it is broadcast.
The jamming resumed on 20 December 2009 soon after BBC Persian began extended coverage of the protests resulting from the death of leading reformist cleric Grand Ayatollah Hoseyn Ali Montazeri.
Due to the ban on foreign reporters in Iran, the news service currently relies on a significant amount of user-generated content, often taken with mobile phones.
On 20 November 2009, BBC Persian TV was honoured at the 12th annual Hot Bird TV Awards in Venice, Italy. It was named best news channel for its portrayal of unbiased news in a complex and fast-moving environment.
Alexa Traffic Rank is 104