Unfortunately, after the 1979 revolution, Iran is being known as the Jail of journalists by announce of international institutes. Although Nepal was the greatest prisoner of journalists that has the most complicated and strangulating Media structure, but we can divide the history of Persian newspapers and journals into Three epochal intervals that the second one is serious though and very considered.
The first period was at the beginning years after the victory of Islamic revolution with the leadership of Imam Khomeini, who spent many years of his lifetime in banishment and exile. Many politicians around the world believe that the 1979 revolution of Iran was the most wonderful and abnormal revolution in all centuries because of the type of its leadership. Imam Khomeini moderated the whole process while he was in Turkey and Iraq.
In these years, we can count the Iranian papers to be almost free and liberal, even Imam Khomeini has told that the communist faction of Iran, are free to deploy and spread their ideas through publishing newspapers.
After his suddenly death, the course of Iran’s media has transformed absolutely. Many magazines have been closed but no journalist was arrested. The number of Iran’s magazines, reduced instantly and there was just only three or four wide-circulation daily newspaper such as Keyhan, and Etelaa’aat that were affiliated with the government.
The whole current was the same when Mr. Hashemi Rafsanjaani was selected as the president at national elections at 1991.
The 8-years opportunity of Hashemi’s presidency (Who his picture was published on the FrontPage of “Time” magazine many years ago) was known as the years of peace and calmness because his cabinet members were trying to compensate the 1000 Billion dollars damage of Iraq’s 8-years war imposed to Persian citizens by Saddam Husain.
On theses years, a newborn daily newspaper named “Iran” has been established to work by the sponsorship of Islamic Republic News agency, affiliated with the state. Iran’s appearance was a great leisure for the new generation of young journalists of Iran and the interested people in media fields.
After 8 years, it was not the time for Sayyed Muhammad Khatami to start his clamorous presidential era! He told us about the freedom of speech, freedom of press, freedom of women and human rights! The statements that most of Iranian people were strange with them! He expressed that he desires to spread the atmosphere of free media and journalists can feel free to make critics on government and such beautiful and brightened slogans…
But the at the time of Khatami’s presidency that took 8 years long, more than 400 daily and weekly newspapers and magazines were been closed!! And RWB (Reporters Without Borders) as a member of the International Freedom of Expression Exchange and a virtual network of non-governmental on journalistic campaigns, counts this great amount of press suspension as a historical record in the calendar of journalism!
It was a memorable and reminding night that the national council, voted to the group cessation of about 200 freelance journals such as “Asr-e-Azaadegan”, “Sobh-e-Emrouz”, “Neshat”, “Tous” and “Jaame’e”, even the newspaper of former Prime-minister of Khatami, named “Khordad” has been closed and he was in jail for more than 3 years and nobody heard anything about his situation.
After the collective suspension of authenticated and vanguard newspapers of Iran on winter 2000 that Persian politicians call it as the greatest cultural disaster of contemporary Iran, the amount of taciturnity and silence among intellectuals and writers, increased quickly and it appeared a great wave of indifference and stagnation in the general space of country, even between common citizens who got used to read those newspapers frequently…
At the time, there were more than 1200 journalists arrested and in prisons all over the country and many of them are still in the jails. For example, the newly paroled and released Akbar Ganji that beard hunger strike for more than 1 month, is one of these journalists who was been arrested about 3 years ago.
After all the struggles and disputes between various political sides of country about the topic of journalist’s arrestment, the final result was that the Persian public prosecutor, alternated into a real fearful scaremonger and alarmist for the Iranian journalists and it caused to the excessive self-censorship till RWB announced that Iran owns the 164th place among the reviewed 167 countries of the world in the global ranking of press freedom…
The story of freedom’s death in Iran is a plenteous sad and woeful story that ends with the death of thoughts, minds and brains in the 2500 years old Asian country.
Now we are experiencing the 3rd wave of Persian media that is bringing us with the calmest, quietest and the most thoughts-related inactive age beside the newspapers and journals that are not useful even for a perfunctory look because they have not anything to read, I confess it truly!
At all, lets summarize that Persian journalists, are involving in self-censor, self-punishment and self-killing! Believe me!