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.
Citizen Journalists, Iran’s 2013 Presidential Election7 May 2013
Reported by Niki Azad
Translated by Rose Arajmand
Khabarnegaran.info – Following the controversial presidential election in 2009 in Iran, the Committee for Protecting People’s Votes – formed by MirHosseinMousavi and MehdiKarroubi – initiated citizen-journalism after they asked the Iranian voters to take pictures and film videos by their mobile and send it to the committee. The move started after they doubted the Guardian Council’s effort to re-count the votes.
Following the move, the Iran Telecommunication Company stopped the text and multimedia message services to stop them from sending the pictures or videos. Such footages have not been used for the next two months after the call for documentation of the violation of democracy. However, it was a proper successful step in starting citizen-journalism in the country.
The videos later were used for showing the violent portrait of the security forces, which took to the next level after their went viral at international scale.
Four years after the controversial election in 2009, Iran will enter a new phase of citizen-journalism in the upcoming presidential election in 2013.
Following the 2009 election, filming any events by a mobile was a crime. Many people imprisoned only because they sent pictures and films to different news agencies or websites.
In the past four years a number of Persian television were founded. These new channels are fully aware of the great potential of the citizen-journalists and they use such source of information well.
The police and security forces do not close their eyes on this. Although their release statements suggesting they monitor any activities online; twitter, Facebook, and mobiles play a vital role in the upcoming election. According to official statistics, 60 percent of Iranians have access to Internet and the majority of the users are young people and women. There are more 70 million mobile users in the country.
The increasing control of the government and security forces on news broadcast and people’s doubt to the system have created much viability for the satellite channels and social networks. Experts believe such tools are very important in the upcoming election.
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.