Iran Government Launching Spanish-Language TV to Target Latin America

The Iranian government is racing to launch its first Spanish-language news channel by the end of this year, which is expected to reach audiences in Latin America and Europe, a Brazilian news outlet reported.

HispanTV, the name of the upcoming Iranian channel, has already made its debut on the Web, covering news in Iran, the Americas, the United States, Canada, Middle East, Europe, Asia, and Africa and also reporting on culture, health, sports, society, economy, and technology.

 The Iranian channel is expected to air “varied” programming, including interviews and talk shows about movies and books on Iranians and Hispanics. Pilot programs, such as one about the “the massacre of Pakistanis” by the United States are already available on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.

On Aug. 18, the Brazilian newspaper, Folha de São Pao (Folha), reported that HispanTV was aimed to bring “Iran’s vision to the region, particularly South America.” Folha’s story was disseminated by Brazil’s Ministry of Defense.

Folha (Portuguese for sheet/page) highlighted that apart from the governments of Argentina and Colombia, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has close ties with some South American leaders, including Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Bolivian President Hugo Morales, both known for spreading anti-American sentiment in the region.

Iran will bear the full cost of the upcoming TV station, which will join Press TV, the English-based Iranian channel, with coverage on all continents. HispanTV is expected to be based out of Tehran in a building next to PressTV. The station is expected to have a branch in Madrid, Spain and plans to open offices throughout South America. It already has a “permanent contract” with Venezuela’s Telesur channel, but is keeping its doors open to other stations in the region.

The Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), an Iranian state entity, plans to open an office in Brazil. According to the Iranian Embassy in Brazil, the project is ongoing but there is no set date for when the branch will begin operating. Brazil’s official language is Portuguese, making it the only non-Spanish speaking country in Latin American.

Two free satellites will make HispanTV broadcasting possible. Potential consumers will a satellite dish and decoder to access the content. 

"Our signal will reach all of Latin America and Europe, and may also be picked up in Brazil," said Chilean Manuel Raimondi, the managing editor of the upcoming channel, according to the Brazilian newspaper.

“Few agencies have a monopoly of Western news about Iran and the Middle East in Latin America. This will help the population to have access to news without distortion," said Ali Mohaghegh, the first secretary of the Iranian Embassy in Brazil.

HispanTV is the latest example of Iran’s efforts to create alternative media channels to “giant corporations,” added Folha.

On Aug. 4, (Spanish for Target shot), a Chilean news outlet, reported that HispanTV will reach the United States and Canada as well.