14 خرداد 1392

Weekly Content Analysis of Iranian Newspapers

Newspapers Reactions to Disqualifications

4 June 2013

Reported by Sara Mohseni

Translated by Mehrdad Safa

Khabarnegaran.info –The latest dramatic episode in Iran’s 11th presidential election happened last week when the two prominent nominees, former two-time President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and President Ahmadinejad’s close aide Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, were disqualified by the Guardian Council, provoking different reactions in the society. The protests against the disqualification of candidates were underreported in print media, while highlighted in online media.

After the news was announced, Keyhan newspaper took a sharp intake of breath and adopted the most damaging stance towards the disqualification of Hashemi last week, thanking the Guardian Council. Arman newspaper, paid much of its attention to presidential candidate Saeed Jalili, a principalist.

Iran newspaper, after maintaining a one-day silence, complained about the disqualification of Mashaei and the lack of pluralism in the election contest.

The ethics of journalism were largely overlooked by all three newspapers.

Every week leading up to the election, Khabarnegaran.info publishes a report of the content analysis of three major Iranian newspapers to assess a number of factors, including media attention to the election, adherence to ethics of journalism, and the candidates in the spotlight. The three newspapers subject to this week’s analytical study (18-23 May) were reformist Arman, conservative Keyhan and pro-government Iran.

Frequency of election-related content: Compared with the last week, the aggregate number of the content related to the upcoming presidential election has increased from 368 to 414. Arman daily focused on the election more than the other two dailies, ranking first with 193 articles. Iran and Keyhan stand next with 116 and 105 articles respectively. This is for the fourth consecutive week that a reformist newspaper ranks first.

Frequency of references to candidates: It was shown that presidential candidate Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, supported by reformists and centrists, was the most highlighted candidate, with 85 references more than the others. The next notable candidate is pro-government Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei. The sudden, wide publicity of Saeed Jalili is notable, as 20 articles had quoted or discussed Jalili in total, making him stand on the third place.

Stance towards Mashayi: 40 percent of the articles on Mashayi were reportages, while other 40 percent were in favor of him, mostly published in pro-government Iran daily. The other 20 percent had a negative stance towards him.

Stance towards Hashemi-Rafsanjani: 28 percent of articles on Rafsanjani were reportages, with an additional 2 percent which accounted for analytical content. While 30 percent of articles were against him, 40 percent favored him, mostly published in Arman daily.

Results and Findings

A. Arman newspaper

- Main headlines about the upcoming presidential election are:

• Qom stands beside Rafsanjani

• We promise people to ensure election security

• Reformists reposition on pivot of moderation

• The pun in the word ‘Rajol’

• Conservatives cannot evade their eight-year performance

• Rafsanjani loyal to his vow

• Radical conservatives to reinforce against Rafsanjani

• Audio file on Mashaei leaks

• Significant part of Principalists support Rafsanjani

• Mohsen Rezaee: Government without serious candidate

• Shariatmadari meets Mesbah Yazdi

• Three resigns candidacy to unite Principalists

• Rafsanjani’s government was open to advice

• These Eight Persons

• Why did not Jalili meet Ayatollah Mesbah

An analysis of Arman’s headlines shows:

• Special focus on Rafsanjani’s candidacy

• A glance at news about Mashaei, but giving more attention to principalist candidate Saeed Jalili

• Not named sources in the news section, especially in shorter news

• Devoted three special pages to politics, in addition to regular last-page politics, mostly covering the election

• Special attention to publishing op-eds written by academic and political figures

Newsmakers: Political figures and parties were the top newsmakers this week. Arman quoted 47 articles from these newsmakers, while 56 articles was published without any quote, encompassing op-eds, and short news.

Candidates: Most election-related content published in Arman were concerned with Akbar Hashemi Rafsnajani, totaling 44 articles. The next important candidate was Mashaei, with 11 articles.

Source Citation: Most content related to the election (43%) was published without naming sources, which shows Arman newspaper’s disregard for journalistic ethics. While 40 percent of the content were prepared and published exclusively by Arman newspaper itself, another 16 percent were quoted from news agencies and websites.

Partiality: Most election-related content were reportage.

Types of content: Most content related to the election was published in the form of news. News stories are the next most frequent form, totaling 15 articles. What distinguishes Arman from other dailies is its special attention to op-eds, publishing 27 in the days leading to the presidential election.

B. Keyhan newspaper

- Main headlines related to the election are:

• Gang leader of hired terrorists changed his makeup

• Supporters of 2009 sedition must be disqualified

• Sedition returns under a new mask?

• Rabble-rousers at Rafsanjani’s office

• Isn’t ‘Viva Spring’ an election slogan?

• Khatami wanted to manipulate Rafsanjani

• Sedition and Hypocrites unite to agitate, distort reality

-An analysis of Keyhan’s headlines shows:

• Editorials against the candidacy of Rafsanjani, written by Keyhan’s senior manager Hossein Shariatmadari

• Focused on defaming and damaging articles against Mashaei

• Devoted three pages to politics, of course with less attention to the election

• Devoted a column to quotes mostly from presidential candidates

• Devoted the infamous column ‘Special Column’ to damaging election news

• Devoted the satire column ‘Conversation’, again filled with damaging election news

• Not supported a particular candidate

Newsmakers: Candidates and political figures were the two most notable newsmakers of Keyhan newspaper this week, with 26 and 25 articles respectively.

Candidates: Election-related content published in Keyhan were concerned with Akbar Hashemi Rafsnajani more than any other candidates, mostly aimed to defame him. The next important candidates were Saeed Jalili (mostly reportages) and Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei (with a negative stance).

Source Citation: Most content related to the election (47 percent) was without naming sources. While 37 percent of the content were prepared and published exclusively by Keyhan newspaper itself, another 16 percent were quoted from news websites and agencies.

Partiality: Most election-related content were reportages, while negative and damaging articles had a 39 percent share. Only two percent of the election-related content has a positive stance.

Types of content: Most content related to the election was published in the form of news.

C. Iran newspaper

- Main headlines related to the upcoming election come as follows:

• Rafsanjani’s candidacy causes serious crisis for Principalists

• Development without justice era floods back bad memories for people

• IRIB’s calumny against pro-governments

• How great political epic is possible?

• Supervision now under question

• Conflicts with pro-governments start?

• Zibakalam: Mashaei to gain 10-15 million votes alone

• Imam’s [Khomeini] age greater than Hashemi’s age now

• My fans and Mashaei’s should wait

• One trend that omitted

-Overview of content analysis of Iran’s newspaper:

• Devoted three pages (Politics, Events and Political Epic) to the election

• Criticized the Police and Commander Ahmadi Moghadam’s statements against Mashaei

• Gave a special attention to the candidacy of Mashaei

• Maintained a one-day silence after the approved list of candidates was announced by the Guardian Council

• Repeated the fact that all political trends were not allowed to run for the election

Newsmakers: Political figures were the most notable newsmakers of Iran newspaper this week, of course after articles without any quotes.

Candidates: Election-related content published in Iran were mostly concerned with incumbent-government nominee Mashaei. Hashemi was the next frequently discussed candidate.

Source Citation: Most content related to the election (41%) was prepared exclusively by Iran newspaper itself. While 24 percent of the content were published unsourced, 16 percent were republished from Iranian news agencies and websites.

Partiality: Most election-related articles were reportages. Slanderous, negative content accounted for 12 percent of all content related to the election.

Types of content: Most content related to the election was published in the form of news.

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