Washington, Aug. 28: Despite significant restraints that can include arrests, detentions, and imprisonment, Iranian journalists strive to achieve high standards of journalistic professionalism, according to a new report.
The study was published by the Iran Media Program at the Center for Global Communication Studies (CGCS), Annenberg School of Communication at the University of Pennsylvania.
The report, Facing Boundaries, Finding Freedom: An In-Depth Report on Iranian Journalists Working in Iran, is based on a field survey of 304 Iranian journalists from both state-run and independent media outlets.
The survey offers the first systematic evidence of the working environment for Iranian journalists, including the level of editorial freedom they are able to exercise, their sources for newsgathering and reporting, and if and how they contend with Internet filtering and online censorship.
“Our aim was better understand how journalists in Iran operate amidst heavy state censorship, especially since the state’s crackdown on journalists following the 2009 presidential election,” according to Briar Smith, associate director of CGCS and director of the Iran Media Program.
“Our findings show that both state and independent reporters in Iran strongly believe that their function is to inform and serve the public and to act as a ‘check’ against the government and political elites-even though in practice, they also recognize there are limits to their ability to fulfill their ‘watchdog’ role,” Smith added.
Smith, who co-authored the report with Magdalena Wojcieszak, Ph.D. (Gr ’09), Associate Professor of Political Communication at the University of Amsterdam, and Amy Brouillette, visiting scholar at CGCS, said the report is especially timely given the state’s more recent crackdown on print and online journalists during the Jun 2013 election.
“While the print media generally operate with far greater editorial freedom than Iran’s heavily-controlled state broadcaster, Iran’s print journalists came under intense government scrutiny and monitoring during the 2013 election season,” according to the report.
“The constraints placed on both reformist and conservative news outlets demonstrate the unpredictability of the regime’s approach to both censoring and punishing media and journalists,” it added. (ANI)