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.
Missing Kayvan Samimi and his “Nameh” – [Letters]22 July 2011
Translated by Azita Eraani
Khabarnegaran.info-55 Letters ... the fruits of 8 years life of a publication that had the political prisoner, Kayvan Samimi as its chief editor. Letters that he had written to his readers.
Majid Toulaaii who was the president of “Nameh” during those years is hopeful that if favorable conditions allow, perhaps the magazine can be published again either in paper or at least via the internet, as he expressed in an interview with Khabarnegaran.com.
“I am certain that he [Kayvan Samimi] too, while curled up in his prison cell, is holding on to a brighter tomorrow, with this same hope.” said Toulaaii whose close friendship with Kayvan Samimi spans over 30 years.
About the publication of “Nameh”, Toulaaii adds that shortly after Mr. Khatami’s first term began in 1997, Kayvan Samimi submitted a request to the Ministry of Guidance for a permit for this publication which was approved in the same year. Nameh was published in two different periods: first during 1997-98 where 15 issues came out in a bi-weekly and 8-page format. And for a second time, from late summer of 99 until early fall of 2006 when after receiving multiple warnings from the Ministry of Guidance and the Communications Oversight Committee, the final cease-and-desist order was issued for the magazine.
About the goals of such a publication, he says: “Long discussions took place around the time period leading to the second birth of Nameh in 1999, which took us to the conclusion that the official and the so called reformist media which had become known as the path for a reformist leadership, did not want and was essentially unable to reflect the most crucial and basic - in other words strategic and fundamental – issues, desires and views of ours and countless other reformists who had been eliminated or pushed to the edges of the society in the last two decades.
And this ‘eliminated’ sector of the society had no access to even the minimal means and venues for expressing its views and it was in an urgent need of a tribune and some form of an independent media outlet of its own. “We arrived at the decisive conclusion that we must use our limited and insignificant means to amplify the voice of this sector of the society” Says Toulaaii.
As for the name “Nameh”, he adds that it was Kayvan Samimi’s choice. Every time a question was raised about ‘why this word?’; his response somehow conveyed his special and personal affection for the word, Nameh [letter]. For Kayvan, the word Nameh implied a means of communication that by writing letters – not of the traditional kind, but in the form of articles, stories, interviews and reports – he could establish with the magazine’s readers.
He believes that his readers consisted of two “General” and “Special” groups. The “General” group was partly made up of the intellectual society - both inside and abroad – and partly the general public making up the middle class of Iran. The “Special” readers however, were the social activists working in various fields of activism, from Women to Workers to Tribal to Students and so on.
About the final shutdown of the magazine, Toulaaii says: “During the last 3 years of our publication, we received multiple warnings from the Ministry of Guidance. The overall political climate after the first of year of Ahmadinejad’s presidency, began spiraling down a tighter space, until the day when publishing a poem by Mrs. Simin Behbahani was used an excuse to shut us down. They interpreted the contents of this poem as an “insult to the late Ayatollah Khomaini”; while this same poem had previously appeared in a book.
As for the follow up steps to possibly reverse the orders for closing down of Nameh, Toulaaii adds that at first, Kayvan was optimistically following the legal process of the case, however it was quite clear that like many other similar cases, both the issuing and the investigating sources in the case, were of political and intelligence nature, and not following the civil law principles. Nevertheless, an appeal case was filed but Kayvan’s or his lawyers’ efforts proved to be futile.
Toulaaii feels that Nameh is being sorely missed and he concludes his thoughts with these words: “Though five years have passed since its closure, I must say frankly, that not a single magazine, among all the print or internet publications of its kind, has been able to fill the void left in Nameh’s place…”
Full article in farsi
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