U.S. State Dept To Splurge on Persian Media

"Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice asked Congress yesterday to provide $75 million in emergency funding to step up pressure on the Iranian government." If granted, the request would increase to $85 million the 2006 budget "to promote political change inside Iran," up from $3.5 million last year. $50 million would be used to "significantly increase Farsi broadcasts into Iran, mainly satellite television broadcasting by the federal government and broadcasts of the U.S.-funded Radio Farda." Another $5 million "will be aimed at reaching the Iranian public through the Internet and building independent Farsi television and radio stations." $15 million "would go to Iranian labor groups, human rights activists and other groups, generally via ... groups such as the National Endowment for Democracy."


The [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4726270.stm BBC News reports] that Syrian groups will get $5 million as well:

The US has announced it is to give $5m (£2.87m) in grants to pro-democracy groups in Syria. The funds are aimed at "accelerating the work of reformers", a State Department statement said. ... The move is part of the Middle East Partnership Initiative (Mepi) launched by the US in 2002 to promote reform in the Middle East.