News Corp embraces its inner Iran

Who says Rupert Murdoch doesn’t love the Islamic Republic?

The News Corp-backed network Farsi1 offers Fox favorites and Telenovelas, and has quickly become the most watched in Iran. Reza Aslan on why Ahmadinejad’s government is worried.

Farsi1, a Persian language satellite station partly owned by Rupert Murdoch’s NewsCorp, has become the most popular entertainment network in Iran, with nearly half of the country’s population (some 35 million people) tuning in daily to keep up with dubbed episodes of Fox favorites like 24 and How I Met Your Mother.

However, the real draw of the network is its dubbed versions of Latin American Telenovelas, which have most of the country in their melodramatic grip. One Telenovela in particular, Second Chance, has become such a national obsession in Iran that it has inspired a hairstyle for women called “the Isabel,” named after the show’s heroine.

he truth is that the Iranian government is fairly blasé about the satellite dishes, perhaps recognizing that it may be able to get away with denying basic rights and freedoms to its citizens, but if it tried to take away their right to find out what happened to Victoria (the title character of one of Iran’s most popular Telenovelas) after her husband left her for a younger woman”¦ well, that’s enough to stir up a revolution.