New PARS Web site for viewers launched

By August 26, 2010

Iran (MNN) — In June 2009, young
Iranians were tweeting, texting, e-mailing, posting pictures and posting video
of the post-election unrest amidst media blackout.

It was generally seen as the
first time young Iranians engaged in cyber war against authorities who were trying
to control information over the country's disputed presidential election.

Activists used text messages,
e-mail, blogs, and "word of mouth" to coordinate opposition. Social media tools like Facebook and Twitter
were utilized more by observers in other countries, and the story swept the
world. Called the "Green movement," it
remains the first major world event broadcast worldwide almost entirely via
social media.

It also revealed a new trend in
Iran. Despite restrictions, according to
some studies nearly half of the population regularly uses the Internet. SAT-7, a
satellite television ministry to the Middle East and North Africa, is
responding to the trend. David
Harder with SAT-7 says it's time to move in Iran. "65% are under the age of 30, so they're very knowledgeable about new
technologies. They love the internet, they love talking to people, and they
love asking questions."

SAT-7 PARS recently upgraded
its Web site. The
new site includes samples of SAT-7 programs, a complete Bible in Farsi which
users can read or download, a place where basic questions about the faith are
answered, and much more.

More than that, Harder explains, "The
internet is something that is very powerful as a compendium with broadcasts
because it allows for two -way communication."

As SAT-7 has seen response double,
they've also seen a picture of the global church painted. Harder says, "Someone can
ask a question or say ‘I'm struggling
with this', and then all of a sudden, all these other Christians who are living
in the same environment can respond. They can write in and give Scripture verses, and they give other messages that are
uplifting and encouraging, trying to help their brothers and sisters."

It provides a dynamic way for
viewers to interact, says Harder. "What we want to do
with all of our Web sites is make them a strong tool that people can use to get
answers, to talk with other Christians within their own country."

However, it appears the growth
hasn't totally escaped notice. Recently,
the SAT-7 team noticed some anomalies. "The
government has a very tight control over the internet. We do believe that in
some places,  it's possible that it may be blocked. It may be part of
other Web sites that are being blocked, and many people we know can still get
it. It's somewhat sporadic, and we're trying to figure out what the situation

Keep praying for SAT-7 PARS. Their hope is to allow the love of
Jesus to reach into homes they wouldn't be able physically to enter. "We appreciate the prayers for wisdom for our
counselors, for our program producers, and also for finance to create these
programs which are having a great effect, not only in Iran, but also across
different areas where it's difficult to proclaim the Gospel." More details are here.

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