The State has the monopoly of radio and television broadcasting. But foreign- and Iranian-owned stations broadcasting from abroad are followed by a very large audience inside the country. Article 175 of the Constitution states that the appointment and dismissal of the head of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) “rests with the Leader.” IRIB, known in Iran with the name Seda va Sima (Sound and Vision), has about 40,000 employees and branches in 20 countries, and is among the largest media organisations in the Asian and Pacific region, offering both domestic and foreign radio and television services in several languages.
IRIB has 12 radio channels for domestic audiences (among them Nationwide Radio, Cultural Radio, Youth Radio, Quran Radio and Sports Radio) and 30 stations for foreign and international audiences.
Radio BBC in Farsi, founded in 1940, is the oldest foreign-based radio station broadcasting to Iran. It has always had a very important role in the dissemination of news not available on the State-controlled media. During the unrests that led to the fall of monarchic regime, between 1978 and 1979, it was through this channel that Iranians could hear the speeches of Ayatollah Khomeini from his exile in France. Radio Farda, based in Prague, is funded by the US government and is the most popular foreign-based radio service, with its mix of news and music. Other foreign stations offering services in Farsi for the Iranian audience are Radio Zamaneh, based in Amsterdam and partly funded by the Dutch government, Radio France Internationale, Voice of Israel and Deutsche Welle from Germany.