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.
threats of closure for new magazines and publications
Media fuss against new papers3 July 2014
Translated by: Hanaa Jam
Khabarnegaran.info – Saba Etemad: This Khordad (June 2014) 2 magazines "zanan Emrooz " and "Iran Farda " started their activities in press. less than a month after their start, radical fundamentalist Medias and also Iran’s national TV started to criticize and threat these papers. Which seems to be the beginning of an end for these papers and according to Ali Asghar Ramezanpour , journalist , they kill the papers at their birth so they won’t have to close a bunch suddenly !
Iran Farda , Zanan Emrooz and media Threats
Iran Farda Magazine got closed 14 years ago through a massive confinement. This paper was managed by Ezatolah Sahabi and it was one of Iran’s most important publications in intellectual field during 70s which had Meli Mazhabi tendencies and a critical view toward government. Now after 14 years and passing its conviction period, this magazine started its activity on the anniversary of its editor in chief’s death and facing media threats.
After its publish, a national TV program called "20:30" which is dependant to Iran’s national security, asked minister of culture , why a magazine which has been under confinement for 14 years should reopen at the same year we all have to look into cultural matters more than ever , at this program national TV reporter asked government if giving permit to a paper with deconstructing tendencies is according to promotion of Islamic and national culture ?
"Zanane Emrooz" has published one issue . in early days of Khordad (june 2014) , "Zanane Emrooz" was in papers stands . from then on , there’s been many critical pieces about it in national TV, Keyhan newspaper and radical fundamentalist websites. With names like : " newcomer with bad record" , " Feminist and westernized magazine" , " a paper with new name but old pattern" given to it . Women Basij asked for cancelation of its license. between all the critics and threats which this magazine was facing , aside from its topic which is women issues , Shahla Sherkat , the magazine’s director has been the target of many media attacks as well.
Papers which get eliminated before appearing
"During recent months, the policy of department of justice was to close a paper on its early issues instead of letting it to grow and find its audiences" says Ali Asghar Ramezanpour, a journalist about these kinds of attacks on new papers.
According to him, these attacks are like a sign for confinement. There was the same peak when "Ham mihan" and "Neshat" got reopened.
Though most of it was from speaker of department of justice and its directors. Threats found their ways to the Medias and they said these two have legal problems. At the end the directors of these papers preferred to close their editorials themselves. But their story is far different from "zanane Emrooz" , those papers were under confinement before ,and their legal problems were related to that matter but Zanene Emrooz license is totally independent from "Zanan" Another journalist who doesn’t want his/her name to be revealed, in respond to the question that does this media fuss mean confinement? says: " it can be and also it may not be a beginning for the end . from a legitimate side , they can’t be a sign for closing , because these papers did all the legal procedure for getting a permit . Zanane Emroz got its license in the meeting of supervision council of press. This council has 7 members, even a member from great council of Hozeh elmieh Qom or the great council of Cultural Revolution is present. There are 2 members from ministry, one from Majles, a member from department of justice and one from directors of press. So vote of the majority has been given to this magazine, its license wasn’t given only by ministry of culture.
He adds: "Ms.Shahla Sherkat herself has been active in press and women issues for many years . her record is clear . and until now she had no criminal record . so legally she would have no problem in publishing the magazine . but how can it be a start for confinement? Maybe the magazine is being observed so close by the chaotic group and whatever they don’t like , can be a reason for closing the paper " According to this journalist if we want to look at the matter in a logical way, the hammer of confinement will defiantly come across these paper’s head which can effect on editorial’s activity. but I know that they had predict these critical fuss and with that knowledge they wanted to reopen those papers .
Radical parties don’t want women on social and media fields
Ali Asghar Ramezanpour believes that the recent verbal attacks to women papers from papers with dependency to Sepah or national security sides mean their specific attention to women issue related publications , he surveys these reactions from 3 different sides : " first , verbal attacking Ms.Shahla Sherkat , and then writers and journalists who work for her and they are women right activists .radical sides don’t like these kinds of faces in social medias. Faces with political links to reformists groups , faces who are known after the revolution and have significant social stands .
Farhang News is the news agency of Islamic revolution’s culture and one of the websites which publishes pieces against Zanane Emrooz and its director .in a piece called: "feminists skin walk " this website criticizes ministry of culture and Mr.Rohani’s state and surveys Shahla Sherkat’s record : " Shahla Sherkat started her journalism career with Zahra Rahnavard , and in 1360 went to Keyhan with Mohammad Khatami there . it is a core of a movement about women issues . "
During Mahmoud Ahmadi nejad years , one of the joint policies of state and department of justice and also national security forces was to prevent any kinds of movement related to women and it worked out well in some ways . at this point , many activists had to leave the country .
Another point of view of this journalist, is the concern regarding publishing pieces which indicates women rights supporter’s ideas . also a concern on criticizing social policies which were against women’s wills or benefits . these policies concentrate on rolling women out of important business fields , returning them to their homes and restricting their higher education possibilities . some separation of places for men and women ended up damaging women for most . one of the goals of these programs is to restrict some of health services for women like birth control . something which according to radicals is against increasing the population policies .
These recent verbal attacks is sign of concern about news and reports criticizing these cultural , social and economical programs.
Women issues , government’s red line
A journalist whose name is not mentioned here says : " women issues were always a red line of course .maybe they fear if this is going to be a beginning for asking more . because they prefer women in different positions in society , a paper about women with progressive or different thoughts won’t make them happy. Even when women bassij are protesting against it , it means they don’t want to hear another voice from women society .
According to him , all these media fuss against Zanane Emrooz magazine is clear : " the critical people believe once there’s nothing from them it shouldn’t exist at all . that’s why these group believe if a journalist is not working for them, s/he deserve to get arrested .they never look to see what law really says . they rise their voice to silence others . so only one voice can be heard and that’s theirs . "
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.