Media Workers warn of “Death of Independent Journalism”

This bill reminds me of what we have heard about the conditions surrounding the political factions, journalist committees and writers under the Stalin regime in the Soviet Union.” Mina, who only spoke on condition of anonymity due to limitations that are imposed inside Iran, said that after working for a couple of years for various publications, she is now trying to continue her work as a journalist independently.

She believes that the bill will result in more censorship and further elimination of independent journalism from the mainstream of Iranian media. She said, “Conditions concerning journalists and media outlets in Iran are problematic enough as it is, and there is no job security. Media chiefs are either government appointees who are naturally in line with the government’s actions or are private owners who are willing to cooperate with the government in order to increase their own revenues and receive more advertisements.”

According to the MGO bill, the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance will be in charge of electing the board of directors for this organization. Also, in each province, a committee made up of the director general of the provincial office of the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, the director general of the regional judicial administration, the director general of the provincial office of broadcasting, a representative from the province’s office of inspection as well as the representatives of the managing directors of the province’s publications are tasked with determining the qualifications of the candidates and monitoring the elections for the board of directors.

Mina points to issues mentioned in the text of the bill, saying, “Almost all sections of this bill are being criticized because they represent purely an official view of the press, which is unacceptable.”

Media outlets have reacted to the bill by publishing articles, editorials, interviews and editorial cartoons. For example, Kambiz Norouzi, a journalist and lawyer, wrote in an editorial for the Reformist Shargh daily, “This bill has at least 47 basic media and legal problems. … These problems are indicative of the fact that this bill is widely dismissive of the basic rules of media and press, such as having a free press, security for media and independent journalism.”

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