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?
Most press in Bushehr have no editor-in-chief26 September 2015
Translated by:Mehrdad Safa
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.
Q. What are the problems and issues specific to a local journalist in south Iran?
A. Local journalists face with numerous problems all around Iran; it is not only limited to the southern provinces. Lack of social insurance, trade union, low wages, and infrequent journalism workshops are the most challenging issues. Unfortunately, many experienced journalists in Bushehr are still working without no social insurance. But there’s another serious problem: the total disarray of the local press.
Q: Disarray? Could you please elaborate?
A: I mean it’s such a mess in the local press of Bushehr province. There’s not a position such as ‘editor-in-chief’ in many publications, as the manager does this job as well. As a result, the layout designer decides which and how articles are published. Little audience analysis is done as well.
Q: You mean there’s no supervision over content by editors or editor-in-chiefs?
A: This is what’s happening now in the Bushehr press. One can’t be sure of what will happen to the article they have written. When there’s no editor-in-chief, the press are merely seen as a source of income. Some local press keeps being alive without a tint of social responsibility.
Q: Have you ever protested against this procedure?
A: Yes, but local press have unfortunately grown accustomed to this procedure, with no aim to change. The press, by nature, must create new things and stories – stories which have been untold by others. Unfortunately, many publications in Bushehr do not feel obliged to enlighten or edify people. Of course, I should mention the endeavor of some publications that raise the voice of silent communities in the southern provinces. Most of such publications are being run under the supervision of an editorial council.
Q: Can you name a few ones? What are their main distinctive features that make you differentiate them from the others?
A: Some publications of Bushehr province like Ettehad-e Jonoub, Nasim-e Jonoub, Nasir, Barmi, and Hamoun. They have always paid a special attention to the rights of minorities. They have published special features on women, youths, disabled, elderlies, and slum dwellers.
Q: As a female journalist, do you have more problems than male journalists?
A: There’s no difference. All journalists are struggling with the same issues I mentioned earlier.
Q: For example, haven’t you ever faced a discrimination in conducting an interview or preparing a story just because you’re a woman?
A: No, I’ve never had such an experience. Quite contrarily, some authorities give a special support to woman journalists.
Q: Where do female journalists fit in the organizational hierarchy of local publications? Can they easily become a desk editor or editor-in-chief?
A: Gender discrimination always exist, especially in traditional societies like Busher. Most women journalists in Busher are reporters, correspondents or activists. Only a few of them could make it to the top as desk editors or editor-in-chiefs.
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