Television in Iran

Television was introduced to Iran in 1958, when TVI (Television Iran) was established in Tehran as a privately owned and commercially operated monopoly, and granted a concession of five years, repeated by a second.[1] A southern branch of Television Iran, based in Abadan, was established in 1960.[2] Its programming included quiz shows and American programmes dubbed into Persian, and appealed to an unsophisticated audience.[1] Habib Sabet, a Baha'i who was one of Iran's major industrialists, was the founder of the first television station.[3]

A separate National Television Network (NITV), established in 1966, catered for a more educated public.[1] TVI was nationalised in 1969, becoming a government monopoly which employed about 9,000 people by 1979.[1] NITV was then merged with Radio Iran in 1972, forming the National Iran Radio and Television (NIRT).[4] Full colour programming began in 1978, although the 1974 Asian Games had been broadcast in colour.[1]

After the 1979 Islamic Revolution the NIRT continued to exist, but was renamed as "Seda va Sima-ye Jomhouri-e Eslami-ye Iran" (Voice and Vision of the Islamic Republic of Iran), and known as the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) in English.[4]

Although satellite dishes are banned under a 1994 law,[5] the research centre of IRIB estimates that they're used by up to 70% of Iranian households.[6]

Despite being repeatedly jammed, the BBC Persian channel had a weekly audience of 7.2 million in 2011.[7] GEM TV is one of the most popular satellite channels in Iran. Based in Dubai, it is broadcast illegally into the country.[8] Farsi1, a satellite channel part owned by News Corporation broadcasting mostly comedies and dramas from other Asian countries and Latin America, is one of the most popular stations in the country.[9]

See also[]


  1. ^ a b c d e William Bayne Fisher; P. Avery; G. R. G. Hambly; C. Melville (1991-10-10). The Cambridge History of Iran. Cambridge University Press. p. 810–811. ISBN 978-0-521-20095-0. 
  2. ^ Hamid Naficy (2011-09-16). A Social History of Iranian Cinema, Volume 2: The Industrializing Years, 1941–1978. Duke University Press. p. 38. ISBN 978-0-8223-4774-3. 
  3. ^ "Habib Sabet Is Dead; An Iranian Altruist And Industrialist, 86". The New York Times. p. 30. 
  4. ^ a b Hossein Shahidi (2007-05-11). Journalism in Iran: From Mission to Profession. Routledge. p. 95. ISBN 978-1-134-09391-5. 
  5. ^ "Iran Prohibits Satellite Dishes To Bar U.S. TV". The New York Times. p. 6. 
  6. ^ "Iran: Regime admits over 40% Iranians view satellite TV despite crackdown". NCRI. Retrieved 17 November 2013. 
  7. ^ "BBC Persian audience doubles to 6m". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 November 2013. 
  8. ^ "Soap Opera's Disappearance Adds to TV Drama in Iran". Retrieved 17 November 2013. 
  9. ^ "TV Channel, Part Owned by Murdoch, Draws Threats in Iran". Retrieved 17 November 2013.