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.
Local press are imitative and disregardful of local demands31 December 2014
Translated by:Mehrdad Safa
Khabarnegaran.info – Local press pays little attention to the demands of local people and are usually a pale imitation of national press.
A study shows that about 80 to 85 percent of the content of local press is unoriginal, mostly covering national news and events.
In his essay titled “Pathology of Local Press: From Perspectives of Professional Journalism and Development Journalism”, Mohammad Mehdi Forghani, a faculty member of Allameh Tabatabai University concluded that local press are an imitation of national newspapers.
A weak organizational structure and lack of financial and human resource have seriously undermined the content quality and function of local press, the study says.
“In many local press, there is no understanding or awareness for development journalism or principles of professional journalism,” Forghani states.
“In addition to this, local press mostly exist on shoestring budget and weak organizational structures, and therefore, there is little possibility for employment of professional workforce,” Forghani adds.
Therefore, these weak press neither can be at the service of development nor can serve the interests of the public.
The study embarks on exploring the real structure of local press, many being run by a small family or even a single person. The true motive behind running this, according to Forghani, is often personal.
The dominant news value in the intro is “reference to elite persons” (48%), which proves that local press are overburdened with elite persons.
A detailed study on the press of Khuzestan Province shows that 91 percent of the content was written in form of news story. About 85 percent of their content was unoriginal, derived from news agencies, or at best, from public relations.
The main responsibility of local press is news production for the locality, including local demands and developmental priorities and local issues and problems. When local press are heavily dependent on news agencies, they evade their main responsibility.
Another part of the study shows that 64 percent of the press of Kurdistan Province neglects their customs and traditions, while it is a critical assessment criterion in development journalism.
In the end of his research, Forghani proposes that the Ministry of Islamic Culture and Guidance carry out a constant evaluation of the local press, and pay subsidies based on the results of such evaluations.
Forghani also suggests that more support be provided for those local press that take developmental criteria into consideration. This may include training sessions or courses for managing directors and editor-in-chiefs of local press on the subjects of development journalism and principles of professional journalism.
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.