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.
Partisan journalism and the fate of journalism in Iran29 May 2014
Translated by: Hanaa Jam
Khabarnegaran.info-Nikki Azad : A time ago, the news of electing two known Iranian journalists as members of central council executive of "Kargozaran" party , restarted an argument which has been the topic of many discussion between Iranian journalist for many years ; journalists with dependency to political parties and journalists who are independent from power.
But what are the factors of a journalist with dependency to a political party? Does s/he only writes in favor of a party or s/he cares about public interests as well? Can s/he follow the journalist’s professional codes such as not taking sides, staying away from power and having a critical point of view? Or it’s always the interest of the party that comes as a priority? We asked these questions and some others from two Iranian journalists.
Newspapers’ fate and ups and downs of political parties
Ismael Azadi , editor in chief of "Mohandesin Moshaver" paper Prefers to answer our questions with the definition of Party in Iran: "what do we call a party now a days in Iran is consultation and activity of a group of people in an organization, a semi political party ,and often with dependency to a politician in order to help him to stay in his powerful place or reach it. The main feature of such politic flow is that they don’t have an organized social body and it sums up to a council, and I believe that we may call them Semi party and not a party at all."
According to him, even Iranian journals specially the political ones aren’t in their traditional places, and their political preferences stand above their journalistic ones, and we don’t see many independent journals. It could be seen even through getting publishing license for newspapers during different political eras.
No to party dependant journalists, yes to journalists with political intentions
"We don’t have party dependant journalists but we have journalists whom are members of a political party or have certain political interests." says Mehdi Jaami, another journalist who answers our questions with a complete different point of view about this subject. He continues: "all journalists have political views and certain ideas, but rules of some countries don’t let their media workers to publicize their thoughts. But rules aren’t the same everywhere and it’s different regarding every country’s political and organization charts." Can a journalist speak his thoughts and talk about his political preferences freely?
Jaami answer this question expressing that it’s difficult to respond: "one thing is certain. No matter which political side he has, he must not to take any side while working. This means s/he has to let all parties to express their views. If s/he has a professional viwe, his/her political intentions won’t play a big part .that’s why a news agency like BBC though having all these different views, still works with no complexity ."
Journalists; voice of politicians and Parties
Is there a journalist whom has no interest or intention to any politician or party and all that matters to them is media? In better words, is there a journalist who favors public interest above all?
Ismael Azadi believes that "there is no journalist in any politic or non politic journal in Iran without Politic intentions, Iranian journalists; especially the ones who work in politic departments are the speaking voice of politicians and parties."
He continues: "hiring a journalist in Iran is like taking people on a special side with special political views"
Is being a politic party member automatically a discredit or not? Is it a journalist or the newspaper’s job to declare their political preference in order to so their audiences will know what kind of thoughts they are following? or isn’t it a public distraction when a journalist or newspaper hides their political intentions ?
Jaami says : " I think it is true to say hiding doesn’t bring you any credit , while at the same time , being clear about whose side are you supporting is valued . being a party member isn’t a discredit on its own , but I understand that being a " Political party member" has a negative meaning in Persian political language , but it’s not necessarily common , I think it has nothing to do with credit , what matters is how a journalist does his/her job . "
But Ismael Azadi believes that a journalist can write in various fields and all s/he has to do is to not to get involve with power: "when a journalist gets involve with politic, you can’t call him a journalist anymore. Doesn’t matter if s/he keeps on writing in papers. A true journalist writes only in favor of public not any political side. When it comes to political parties, the priority goes that way. "
Iranian Journalists, Members of central council of a political party Is electing two Iranian journalists as members of a political party a new thing? Does this means that we’re going to see more journalists turning into politic activists?
Mehdi Jaami says: "I hope I could clear that being a party member doesn’t give you credit nor discredits you, when you look at papers from 20s and 30s in Iran, you see that all of their editor in chivies were depended to a political side, lots of our journalists and media workers were members of Toudeh party, so this isn’t a new thing" Ismael Azadi has a different point of view regarding this two journalists: "they were always writing in favor of the Kargozaran Party in different papers , so the only new thing is the declaration of their membership , and I believe it’s not a good thing for their journalistic identity , it make them politicians . "
Being a political depended journalist or not? What matters the most is that people expect to hear the truth, no matter what political preferences a paper or a writer has, everyone believe that a paper or a writer shouldn’t turn into a backyard or public relation center of a politician.
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.