VOA Broadcasting to Iran: A Long-Overdue Housecleaning

Helle Dale /

At a standing-room-only meeting Wednesday, the leadership of Voice of America (VOA) announced major changes in the way the Persian News Network of VOA goes about the business of reporting the news to Iranians. It’s about time.

Complaints about the network have been flooding Capitol Hill from the Iranian exile community for several years now. One such compliant was that the executive leadership of the service neither spoke nor understood Persian and did not have any understanding of Iranian politics. In March of last year, a letter from Representative Trent Franks (R–AZ) to President Obama (co-signed by 69 other Congressmen) complained about the network’s lack of oversight, staffing, mission, and content. It “may have harmed the plight of those seeking human rights, rather than helped it,” the Congressman wrote.

As a consequence, the network’s director, Alex Belida, was removed in May of last year, and since then a review has been in the works. (The wheels of government spin very slowly.) (more…)