BBC News Persian Marks 15 Years of Broadcasting, Condemns Threats to Colleagues and Their Families

By A.J. Katz 

TVNewser loves giving a shoutouts to networks marking anniversaries, and BBC News Persian is celebrating one of its own on Monday: 15 years of broadcasting.

On the day of the anniversary, Sunday Jan. 14 at 5:30 p.m. GMT (12:30 p.m. ET), a special show, 15 Years with Persian TV, will celebrate the coverage the channel has delivered over the past decade and a half, and how it engages with its audiences and involves them in its programming.

The BBC’s Persian service actually started in 1940. Today, BBC News Persian reaches a weekly audience of 19.2 million people – in Iran, Afghanistan, the U.S., Germany, Canada and other countries around the world. Over 11 million people watch BBC Persian TV every week, according to a BBC Global Audience Measure in 2023.


“As we mark 15 years of BBC News Persian TV, we recognise the trusted reputation for courageous and independent journalism the service has built and note that this journalism has never been needed more,” BBC World Service director Liliane Landor said in a statement. “We exist to serve audiences, and BBC Persian TV has consistently delivered for them; through times of uncertainty or change, day in, day out, as history is made, BBC Persian TV is there to record and report it.

“Furthermore, the team’s exceptional work is produced under the most extraordinary of circumstances as BBC News Persian colleagues and their families face ongoing harassment. We continue to condemn the threats whilst acknowledging this special 15th anniversary milestone.”

BBC Persian TV arrived on the Persian media landscape with a modern look and sound, live news reports from around the globe, in-depth analysis and insights, and a mix of content.

“On the day of the first broadcast, we were flooded with messages of support and excitement from our audience,” said BBC World Service Persian and Arabic programming chief Rozita Lotfi. “It was a Wednesday, and some were saying they had taken the day off to witness the launch. I remember one audience member telling us that we proved Persian media too can have a TV channel with world-class standards.”

Lotfi adds: “On the day the TV launched, none of us could have imagined that we won’t be able to return to Iran anymore and our safety, along with our families’ safety in Iran, would be jeopardised. We were soon to realise, each of us at BBC Persian, that this amazing achievement would come at a high personal cost for us.”

Presented by BBC News Persian’s Farnaz Ghazizadeh and Jamal Mousavi, 15 Years with Persian TV will highlight some of the coverage that the channel has brought to its audiences. They’ll discuss the editorial approach that guides the work of the service’s journalists who are banned from Iran, and look at how social media is used to engage with audiences in Iran and around the world and to verify news content. The channel’s role in informing its Afghan audiences and shaping up Afghanistan’s media will be another focus of the anniversary edition which will also bring messages from the channel’s audience in Tajikistan.