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The History of Television in Iran

Television Iran (TVI), Iran's first television channel began broadcasting in 1958. After the 1979 Iranian Revolution, the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) became Iran's state broadcaster. It was founded to promote the new regime's values and ideology. The organization broadcasted content in Persian, Azerbaijani, Kurdish, Turkish, and Arabic.

Satellite television was introduced in Iran in the 1990s, giving viewers access to foreign channels. The government initially blocked satellite channels but later allowed them with restrictions. In recent years, the government has sought to exert greater control over television content, focusing on promoting "Islamic values" and limiting access to foreign programming. Despite these efforts, many Iranians continue to access foreign channels via satellite and the internet.

Today, the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) runs several channels in multiple languages, including:

  • Channel 1: Broadcasts in Persian and is the main channel, featuring news, cultural programming, and religious content.

  • Channel 2: Broadcasts in Persian and primarily focuses on entertainment programming.

  • Channel 3: Broadcasts in Persian and focuses on international news and programming.

  • Channel 4: Broadcasts in Persian and focuses on sports.

  • Sahar TV: Broadcasts in Azerbaijani, Kurdish, Turkish, and Arabic, featuring news and cultural programming.

  • IRIB Quran: Broadcasts in Persian and focuses on religious programming and recitation of the Quran.

  • Press TV: English-language news channel that is owned by the Iranian government.

  • Al-Alam: Arabic-language news channel that is owned by the Iranian government.

  • Ofogh: Broadcasts in Persian and focuses on news and entertainment programming, it's also state-run.

  • Tamasha: Broadcasts in Persian and focuses on entertainment programming, it's also state-run.

  • Iran TV Network: Broadcasts in Persian and focuses on news and entertainment programming, it's also state-run.

In addition to its television channels, IRIB also operates a number of radio stations and a news agency, as well as a number of websites and social media accounts. It is known for its strict censorship policy. The organization has been criticized for impartiality in its coverage of domestic and international events, and for promoting a one-sided view of the world. Despite these criticisms, IRIB remains an important source of information and entertainment for many Iranians, particularly those in rural and remote areas who may not have access to other forms of media.

Private Channels:

While state-run channels have long dominated Iranian television, private channels have gained popularity in recent years. These channels provide a broader range of programming and, in many cases, a different perspective on news and current events than the state-run channels. Manoto TV, a Persian-language channel that broadcasts to Iran and the Persian-speaking diaspora, is one of the most well-known private channels in Iran. The channel broadcasts a mix of entertainment, news, and lifestyle programming and is known for having a more liberal and progressive viewpoint than state-run channels. Namayesh TV, a cultural and entertainment channel with a mix of dramas, documentaries, and talk shows, is another notable private channel. Another important news source is 'Persian BBC,' — blocked by the government, but can be accessed via satellite or VPN. Private television channels face numerous challenges, including censorship, a lack of funding, and limited access to the domestic market. The government controls satellite dish distribution and frequently jams signals from foreign-based channels, making it difficult for Iranians to access them. Some of Iran's private TV channels are:

  1. Manoto TV

  2. Namayesh TV

  3. Persian BBC

  4. GEM TV

  5. Iran International

  6. TIN TV

  7. AMG TV

  8. Iran Alef

  9. Pars TV

  10. Iran Zamin.

Television Series:

For decades, Iranian television series, also known as "serials," have been a staple of Iranian culture. They are known for their high production values and strong performances from actors and frequently have a strong cultural and historical context.

"Shahrzad," a popular Iranian television series in recent years, tells the story of a young woman who becomes a successful lawyer in Iran. The series was a big success in Iran and has since been sold to countries all over the world. "Pegah," another popular series, tells the story of a young girl who is forced to leave her home and begins a new life in the city. This series was also very popular in Iran, where it was widely praised for its strong performances and powerful storytelling. Iranian television series also frequently address political issues, such as "The Sycamore Tree," which focuses on the lives of Iranian women during the Iran-Iraq war. Some other popular Iranian TV series in recent years include "Golshifteh," "Sarbedaran," "Ekhrajiha," and "Shahgoosh."


As of January 2023, the most popular youtube channels in Iran are:

  1. Victor Ashkan

  2. TPM - Top Persian Music

  3. Ahwaz Media 2

  4. Purple Kohl Megha

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