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.
Written and unwritten discrimination against Iranian female journalists
Lady! You are not allowed to go to parliament for reporting20 April 2012
Translated by: Rose Arjmand
Khabarnegaran.info-Iranian female journalists have suffered from various types of discrimination since the Iran Revolution in 1979. Some of these discriminations were understated after the birth of reformist media. However, women still suffer from such judgments. Khabarnegaran.info plans to pinpoint a few of such cases of discrimination against women. This is our first editorial of these series:
Today women are the majority in Iranian newsrooms and they managed to be as active as men in the arena of media and news.
Probably, many of these women who are working in newsrooms have not heard that until 10 or the most 15 years ago the barrier before women journalists were more barring than today.
A woman journalist, who has started her professional career as a journalist from the Itela’at Newspaper (Information Newspaper) which is a conservative newspaper, talks about her experience. She was in charge of parliament news and she had to cover the latest developments in the parliament. Ironically, she was never allowed to go to the parliament. She managed to cover parliament news without stepping in the parliament building, with only listening to the radio from her desk at the newsroom of the newspaper.
She protested and criticized the situation in numerous occasions and asked her editor in chief to let her go to the parliament for news. Her request was always rejected and her gender was the only excuse that was given as a reason to stop her from going to the parliament. They even told her if she were a man they would allow her to go to the parliament; because most of the members of the parliament were men and parliament was a male dominated environment so it was not appropriate to send a woman to that environment.
The Itela’at was not the only newspaper that was suffering from such discriminative atmosphere. However, other newspapers chose a different alternative than the Itela’at Newspaper. Itela’at Newspaper chose radio as an alternative to keep its woman journalist at office, other newspapers sent men journalists.
By the late 1990s, with birth of reformist newspapers, the dominant atmosphere was eased. These days, women journalist are not barred from going to the parliament and for a fact the number of women journalists present at the parliament is more than men journalists. They manage to cover various controversies going on in the parliament.
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.