US efforts to enhance the free flow of information to Iran (Section 1264 report)

Public Law 111-84, also known as the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), includes the VOICE Act which authorized $55 million for four efforts to "strengthen the ability of the Iranian people get access to news and information and overcome the electronic censorship and monitoring efforts of the Iranian regime." Passed as part of the National Defense Authorization Act, these efforts remained authorized but not funded.

Section 1264 of the NDAA required a report by the Administration to provide a detailed description of informational activities related to Iran. That report was released recently without fanfare. It is available here, posted on Google Docs as a 470kb PDF (reduced from the 3mb original document and made searchable).

The report details the information efforts of the US Government toward Iran, including multiple social media platforms, and Iranian attempts to jam transmission and reception.

Comments on the Voice of America's Persian News Network (PNN) is interesting, especially in light of the recent editorial by The Washington Times.

PNN's programming evoked a strong response. The network received thousands of videos and still pictures, emails and phone calls, and an overall 800 percent rise in direct website visits. The Twitter account drew over 5,000 users in the face of heavy Iranian Internet interference, A flash poll taken in Iran shortly after the elections showed that large numbers of Iranians were relying on PNN's TV programs to follow the events; 31 percent of those polled, for example, said they had been following the election controversy on PNN's "Newstalk" program. ...

Both PNN and Farda are active on social networking websites. PNN has a Twitter feed, seven approved Facebook sites with more than 30,000 followers, as well as six approved blogs, including one for Sports. The PNN YouTube stte was a source of video news during and after the Iranian election, with 470,000 views in that time span. Radio Farda is also present on Facebook. Launched in April 2009, Radio Farda's Facebook page has 20,000 fans with more than 3,000 interactions weekly (October 2009), making Radio Farda website's content available to more than 200,000 Facebook participants. During and after last June's presidential election in Iran, Parda ' s webpage had nearly six million visits and more than 18 million page views (July 2009).

Read the whole report here.