Despite extensive documentation of and attention to direct state pressure on journalists and the almost continual reissuing of “red lines” as a pretense for these media-repressive tactics, little systematic research has been done about the field of journalism in Iran. Beyond direct state repression—harassment, arrests, imprisonment—Iranian journalists face a myriad of regulatory and bureaucratic controls that restrict editorial freedom and the flow of information between journalists and citizens. Yet we know little about how reporters in Iran contend with these challenges on an everyday basis, and in particular outside the context of tightened state controls and crackdowns on journalists during political elections. Hence, there is a need to look “beyond the prison cell” and to examine more closely the everyday operating conditions in which Iranian journalists work, as well as their professional ethics and standards, in order to illustrate a fuller picture of the dynamics of Iran’s media culture.
With this report, the Annenberg School for Communication’s Iran Media Program offers—to our knowledge—the first systematic evidence of the working environment of Iranian journalists. It addresses a critical information and research gap regarding the reporting practices of Iranian journalists, their perceptions of editorial freedoms, their ideas of what the media’s role is in society, and the ways in which reporters and editors contend with Internet filtering and censorship. The fundamental aim of this study is to generate a deeper understanding of how Iranian journalists operate both within and despite an environment of heavy state oversight and restrictions, as well as to broaden our perspective of the complexities of media censorship in Iran.
For the full report, click here.