Media development organisations
The Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA) is a news organisation established in December 1999 and run by Iranian university students. It covers a variety of national and international topics. Editors and correspondents are students in a variety of subjects, many of them volunteering. It is considered by Western media to be one of the most independent and moderate media organisations in Iran, and is often quoted. While taking a reformist view of events, it tries to remain politically independent. In mid-November 2018, ISNA launched a citizen journalism platform called Fars-e Man (My Fars). On this platform, citizens can report stories or issues they would like to be covered by submitting topics and allowing the reporters 48 hours to cover the submitted request. On Twitter, Arashk Borzoo reacted by saying: “That’s good, but it’s sad they are literary copying it from Monarchist mouthpiece Manoto. Also I wish they did it sooner.”
Bashgah Khabarnegaran Javan (The Young Journalists Club - YJC) is located near in Vali Asr, Tehran, and is a sort of incubator for foreign journalists. YJR is the name of its news agency.
The state-owned broadcasting company IRIB has its own media college called Dāneshkade-ye Sedā va Simā. Needless to say, this college belongs to the state and, as a consequence, its activities are strictly controlled by the authorities of the Islamic Republic.
ILNA is the Iranian Labour News Agency, which provides coverage of the country’s trade unions. It was launched in Tehran on 24 February, closed down in 2007 and relaunched in July 2008. It provided TV coverage of the 89th Academy Award, when Asghar Farhadi’s film The Salesman (2016) won as the Best Foreign Language Film.
Within the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance there is a department supporting foreign journalists and correspondents. Its website offers an interesting Media Guide.
BBC Media Action used to work in media and communication in Iran, through training and long-term mentoring. At the moment it is no longer operative in the country and Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a dual British and Iranian citizen, is currently in jail in Tehran because of her previous work with the organisation. She has been sentenced to five years in prison for allegedly plotting against the Iranian government.
Besides her previous job with BBC Media Action, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was arrested also because at the time of her trip to visit her family in Iran she was employed by the Thomson Reuters Foundation, which implements initiatives ranging from the creation of sustainable, independent news platforms to a wide range of skills and editorial programmes. It funds the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at Oxford University, a global research centre producing the indispensable Digital News Report and publications on the current and future trends in journalism. Amongst its activities are training with Reuters journalists in order to produce real stories, project grants for specific investigations and cross-border collaborations, mentoring by Reuters veterans to give stories global resonance, providing global channels to bring the best journalism to the widest possible audience, financing fellowship in order to broaden horizons through research and exchanges.
Iranian journalists in exile enjoy the support of the Maison des journalistes in Paris, a non-profit organisation dedicated to supporting journalists who have been forced to flee their countries because of persecution relating to their line of work. Journalists in exile are given the opportunity to publish their articles on the magazine L’oeil de la Maison des journalistes. Between February 2006 and December 2015, it hosted 22 professionals of information (meaning journalists, writers, graphic designers) from Iran. As far as we can understand, this organisation has no impact within the country itself.