2 خرداد 1394

Content analysis of reformist and conservative dailies after Lausanne nuclear talks

23 May 2015

Translated by:Mehrdad Safa

Khabarnegaran.info – Sara Mohseni: After two weeks of Persian New Year holidays, Nowruz, Iranian newspapers started to come out with one of the freshest, most significant stories of the world politics – the successful initial nuclear talks between Iran and P5+1 in Lausanne.

A content analysis of the newspapers shows that a sharp bipolarity exists in the coverage of news, while a lack of professional journalism and accurate news reporting still can be felt.

Four nation-wide daily newspapers – reformist Etemad and Sharq, and conservative Kayhan and Javan – were subject to a content analysis study carried out by Khabarnegaran during an entire week (April 4-9).

Kayhan daily, notoriously known for its ultraconservatism, excessively used exclamation and question marks in its headlines to suggest that something is rather surprising or untrue. For instance, it featured the headline ‘President: Mindless rivals, Iran enemies both displeased with Lausanne agreement!’ for Rouhani’s statements after the successful talks.

Javan, a daily affiliated with the Revolutionary Guards, also adopted a negative stance against the talks, but mostly against foreign countries. While Kayhan focused on the doubts raised by Friday prayer leaders, reformist dailies covered the positive aspects of their statements. Sharq, a leading reformist daily, mostly featured short and overly positive headlines to express its joy over nuclear talks. Etemad went even further by running epic and exciting headlines.

The chart below shows how opinions as to merits of the nuclear talks were sharply divided in reformist and conservative newspapers. Reformist dailies, Sharq and Etemad, enthusiastically welcomed the talks in every way. During the early days, Javan daily, affiliated with the Revolutionary Guards, reviewed the talks negatively. However, after several members of the Revolutionary Guards started to welcome the talks, Javan’s stance toward the negotiations became cautiously more positive.

The study also reveals that an impartial reporting of news and opinions could be mostly seen in Javan daily newspaper – with over half of its stories.

Kayhan tops the list in not citing the source for its articles. Among the quoted statements, Kayhan mainly quoted foreign figures on the nuclear talks. Javan mostly quoted state authorities, most probably because of its affiliation with the Revolutionary Guards. Sharq and Etemad mostly quoted political activists and experts on the subject mainly in the forms of interview, op-ed or short stories.

In a main conclusion drawn up in the end of the study, it should be noted that none of the four daily newspapers have adopted followed standards of journalism in reporting or investigating the nuclear talks in Lausanne. They have either cheered or booed the talks. A sharp bipolarity – entirely positive or negative reviews – thus exists regarding the talks.

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