Khabarnegaran.info-Niki Azad: Local journalist Mahdieh Amiri speaks of the hardships of practicing journalism in the southern Iranian province of Bushehr. Amiri has been working as a journalist in Bushehr for years. Since 2007, she has been the editor-in-chief of a few local websites, biweekly and quarterly magazines. She is now the editor-in-chief of hamooniran.com website and Ava-ye Dashtestan biweekly.
New newspapers to be published
Journalists carry on working as they wait for unemployment2 January 2013
Reported by Sara Mohseni
Translated by Rose Arjmand
There is news saying newspaper that were closed down before are to be opened again. This is very interesting news to those who know what it means to lose a job over a night because their newspaper was closed down by the government. They wonder if such reopening process equaled an open political environment or the censorship will continue in other forms.
Kargozaran, Sobh-e Emrouz and Shargh newspapers are the first in the row to resume their publication again. Still such re-publication raises another question: how long will these newspapers be published?
Journalism is our career
Khabarnegaran.info talked to a journalist who is back to the newsroom after two years. She is a journalist at Bahar Newspaper and agreed with this interview under the condition of anonymity. She explains how she feels about returning to the newsroom: “Journalism is our career. We are fully aware of the problems and limitations that accompany journalism in Iran. Yet, we must take advantage of every single opportunity, although not close to our ideals, to keep the newsrooms alive and dynamic.”
Political changes and new newspapers
Some critiques find the permit to re-open closed newspapers a sign of an open political environment, although they know journalists still will face much censorship. However, some others are tired of such an on-and-off employment.
One of these journalists believes: “there two angles to analyze such changes. Firstly the next presidential election is close and such open political environment can be only confined to it. But, personally, I disagree. I suggest a second angle that it could have been much worse and it is very good that they let Bahar and Shargh newspapers to go under print again. I imagined even worse circumstances. That is the reason why I find it a hopeful situation although I don’t believe it will be sustainable. We shall wait and see.”
Bahar Newspaper has been closed down three times before.
I’m sick of being short-time journalist
Another journalist, who lost his job since the controversial presidential election in 2009, says: “these newspapers are called ‘election newspapers’ and I used to work for one of them at the time 2009 presidential election. It is not a new phenomenon; it has always been thereat the time elections. They issue a permit for a few newspapers at such times and they close them down a few weeks after the elections.”
This reformist journalist states: “although I miss the atmosphere of newsrooms and I received some offers to join these election newspapers, I refused to join them. Because I am sick of being on a short-term job.”
Another journalist says: “every time I go back to a newsroom, all I am thinking about is ‘when do they close this one down’?
We wait for Shargh
Shargh Newspaper has been closed down on 27 September 2012 on the eve of an autumn day for publishing a cartoon. The cartoon was interpreted as an insulting cartoon and such an interpretation ended in the newspaper being closed down for the fourth time. Many readers and former journalists writing for Shargh are hopeful that the ban to be lifted in the next session at Media and Culture Court. Some journalists were so hopeful that they refused to accept the offers at Bahar Newspaper. They want to be free for the time that Shargh is re-opened again.
A journalist who used to write for Shargh says: “we are used to hearing the news of bans and sometimes lifts of such bans. This time I am waiting for Shagh to be published again. I am so hopeful that I reject an offer at Bahar Newspaper. I find the latest development at the court progressive.”
She continues: “sometimes I think about immigrating to another country. But I don’t find the Persian media outside the country, apart from a very few number of them, as influential as the ones inside the country. I don’t want to lose hope.”
How about Kargozaran and Sobh-e Emrouz?
Lately we hear some news about a lift on the ban of Sobh-e Emrouz Newspaper under management of Saeed Hajjarian and Kargozaran Newspaper under management of Morteza Sajjadian. Asr-e Iran news website reported: “Sobh-e Emrouz might reopen under management of Saeed Hajjarian.”
Such news was not denied or confirmed by any individuals or organizations. Many journalists know almost nothing about it. Sobh-e Emrouz was a reformist newspaper with Alireza Alavitabar as its editor in chief. Akbar Ganji, Abbas Abdi, Saeed Razavi Faghih and Emadeddin Baghi were among the writers at the newspaper. The daily was closed down in 2000. Sobh-e Emrouz was published under the motto of “knowledge is everyone’s right.” Yet after 12 years we do not know if the newspaper is coming back to newsstands or not.
Kargozaran Newspaper is to mark its fourth anniversary of being closed down very soon. Morteza Sajjadian, the director of Kargozaran told Fars News: “the ban on the Kargozaran Newspaper has been lifted long time ago. However, the Media Department has not issued our permit to re-print the paper.”
The daily was banned because it published a part of a statement released by the Office for Strengthening Unity in which supporting Hamas was condemned.
The paper was an official newspaper of Executives of Construction Party.
Last issue of Kargozaran
The editor in chief and newsroom staff of this newspaper had a meeting with Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, then head of the Expediency Council and Assembly of Experts a day before it was banned. Mohammad Parvizi, the Chairman of Media in the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance in 2009 told IRNA: “Kargozaran newspaper has been banned based on the contents of Article 6 in laws governing media, and the amendment of Article 12 of the same law, and the case has been referred to the courts for legal proceedings.” Such hopeful news is told among everyone, still not everyone is optimistic about the promised open political environment in long term. Many journalists are only going back to newsrooms – even for a short period of time – to keep newsrooms of the country dynamic.
Khabarnegaran.info-Niki Azad: How is life for Iranian journalists after prison? Does their attitude toward their journalism – the profession that put them in jail – change? Are they more conservative than before? Or bolder?
Khabarnegaran – Niki Azad: He has been put in jail three times for his journalist writing, though he says that jail has not made him feel disappointed with the profession of journalism.