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.
Lax laws against publishing pictures of children in Iran30 June 2015
Translated by:Mehrdad Safa
Khabarnegaran.info – Niki Azad: While most countries have strict laws against publishing photos of children in the media, Iran almost lacks any legislation over the issue.
In the modern world, media do not publish photos of children without their guardian or parental consent. However, in Iran, It is quite common for magazines to run their front pages with photos of children to promote their sales.
Recently, the growing tide of publishing photos of children online, especially offspring of human rights activists and political prisoners, has raised many questions regarding children and media rights.
In this feature article, we ask children rights activists and a media expert about the boundaries and regulations on publishing photos of children.
“In the modern word, parental consent is required for publishing photos of children. Of course, there might be conflicts between the interests of children and their parents at some points. In developed countries, even if a parental consent is given, the rights of a children comes first,” Hossein Raisi says to Khabarnegaran.
Hamed Farmand, another children rights activist and a media researcher, believes that Iranian magazines use photos of children much more than world media.
“In non-Iranian media, paintings, cartoon characters, and even photos of animals are used instead. However, Iranian media lack an alternative mostly because of a lack of a professional and responsible attitude toward use of children photos,” Farmand tells Khabarnegaran in an exclusive interview.
Recently, photos of a child victim of an acid attack – a six-year-old girl – have been widely published in Iranian media. A photo of a Yemeni girl injured during the civil war was also published by Vatan Emrouz newspaper, creating much controversy over the issue of children rights and media.
Raisi stresses the fact that law generally bans publishing of children photos. “Only in rare cases, where it is of interest to the child, media are allowed to publish the photo with the parental or guardian consent.”
Farmand believes that publishing photos of a victim – an individual who has suffered violence –may be a renewed violence against that individual.
Another recent controversial issue is the viral video showing children of an imprisoned human rights activist, Narges Mohammadi, asking for their mother’s freedom.
Taghi Rahmani, the father of the children, urged social media users to delete the video from their pages. Rahmani said that watching the video has inflicted much pain and suffering on him.
“In most countries around the world, media are not allowed to publish such things. Photos of children must be published in an unidentifiable way,” Raisi says.
The attitude of Iranian media toward children of prisoners, as Raisi puts it, is often victimized and compassionate.
“However, non-Iranian media have a totally different viewpoint. They separate the problems of the child from those of their parents. In other words, their focus is on the child and the problems that the imprisonment of their parents has caused for them. They do not consider whether the trial or punishment of their parents has been fair or not,” Raisi says.
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.