Hamdi Malik is an associate fellow with The Washington Institute and cofounder of its Militia Spotlight platform.
An umbrella entity, the Islamic Radio and Television Union, encompasses more than two hundred media groups stretching from Oman to East Africa.
The concept sodoure enqelab, or “export of the revolution,” is written into Iran’s constitution, and the country’s founding leaders wasted no time trying to make it a reality. Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) launched its Arabic Service in 1980 and subsequently leveraged satellite television to intensify its outreach to Arabic-speaking nations—Shia audiences in particular. Today, IRIB World Service runs fourteen satellite TV channels, three internet TV channels, and thirty-two radio stations, a number of them broadcasting in Arabic.
In this highly informative Policy Note, expert Hamdi Malik surveys Iran’s remarkable range of Arabic-language media, with a focus on those under the Islamic Radio and Television Union banner, which encompasses more than two hundred entities. Iraq, Lebanon, and Syria feature strongly in the inventory, but more surprising places such as Oman and East Africa also crop up. To combat Tehran’s media infiltration and secure U.S. interests, the author urges Washington to promote a true partnership between Western countries and the region’s many media actors who wish to challenge Iran’s propaganda machine.