Iran: Can Its Stories Be Told?

Journalists — Iranians and Westerners — share their firsthand experiences as they write about the challenges they confront in gathering and distributing news and information about Iran and its people. Their words and images offer a rare blend of insights about journalists’ lives and work in Iran. In the fifth part of our 21st Century Muckrakers series about investigative and watchdog reporting, the focus turns to coverage of issues involving public health, safety and trust. And in Words & Reflections, essays touch on objectivity, religion, blogging, Ireland and post 9/11 America. – Melissa Ludtke, Editor

Iran: Can Its Stories Be Told?
Introduction (3 comments)
By Melissa Ludtke, Editor
Treatment of Journalists
Understanding Iran: Reporters Who Do Are Exiled, Pressured or Jailed (4 comments)
‘Roxana’s work consistently gave the lie to the narrative of a monolithic Islamic Republic.’
By Iason Athanasiadis
Journalism in a Semi-Despotic Society (2 comments)
'Censorship, low payment, and the high risk of arrest for any journalist who dares to take an investigative step, among other reasons such as lack of individual liberty, have pushed Iranian journalists to the virtual world of the Internet.'
By Byline Withheld
Peering Inside Contemporary Iran (2 comments)
An Essay in Words and Photographs By Iason Athanasiadis
When Eyes Get Averted: The Consequences of Misplaced Reporting (7 comments)
‘Poor reporting from and about Iran has kept the West in the dark. In this lightlessness, Iranians are rendered as ghosts.’
By Roya Hakakian
Imprisoning Journalists Silences Others
While most Iranian journalists have to operate with extreme caution, foreign journalists can be more frank on the issues they face in Iran.
By D. Parvaz
‘We Know Where You Live’ (2 comments)
Working for a Western magazine in Iran, a journalist finds that he has acquired some surprisingly close acquaintances—from the ministry of intelligence. And strangely, they are all called Mr. Mohammadi.
By Maziar Bahari
A Visual Witness to Iran’s Revolution (2 comments)
An Essay in Words and Photographs By Reza
Film in Iran: The Magazine and the Movies (1 comment)
‘… there are two arenas—cinema and soccer—that while not completely impervious to the political torrents have a greater margin of immunity.’
By Houshang Golmakani
Women Reporters, Women’s Stories
Your Eyes Say That You Have Cried (8 comments)
‘Today’s generation of Iranian women reporters are doing big things. Their mark will be left on history.’
By Masoud Behnoud
Telling the Stories of Iranian Women’s Lives (1 comment)
‘Anyone who did research on women’s issues benefitted from hundreds of articles, stories and interviews that were featured in Zanan.’
By Shahla Sherkat
Iranian Journalist: A Job With Few Options
After working for more than a decade at the now banned Iranian magazine Zanan, a journalist now in the United States describes her feelings of identity, location and loss.
By Roza Eftekhari
View From the West
Seven Visas = Continuity of Reporting From Iran
‘The Iranian government sometimes appears to favor U.S. reporters with little knowledge of the country who might be more amenable to spin, although that has not happened in my case.’
By Barbara Slavin
No Man’s Land Inside an Iranian Police Station (1 comment)
When Iran held a U.S. reporter, an American television correspondent recalled her own brief arrest by Iranian police.
By Martha Raddatz
The Human Lessons: They Lie at the Core of Reporting in Iran (2 comments)
‘When we work in countries without press freedoms, we scarcely know the pressures on the people we encounter, the complexities of their motivations, the dimensions of their fears.’
By Laura Secor
Iran: News Happens, But Fewer Journalists Are There to Report It (4 comments)
In a time of global engagement—economic, political, environmental, energy and health, to name a few—budget cuts at news organizations severely limit foreign news coverage.
By Mark Seibel
When the Predictable Overtakes the Real News About Iran (1 comment)
‘What makes news in the West are Iran’s "menacing" actions in Iraq or words against Israel, with such stories told in a similar narrative, encased in little context and with a shortage of evidence.’
By Scheherezade Faramarzi
The Web and Iran: Digital Dialogue
Attempting to Silence Iran’s ‘Weblogistan’ (2 comments)
‘Iran’s filtering and blocking regime has been described by various experts as second only to China’s.’
By Mohamed Abdel Dayem
Blogging in Iran
Publishing and Mapping Iran’s Weblogistan (2 comments)
By Melissa Ludtke
The Virtual Iran Beat (11 comments)
‘Speaking Farsi helps expand our ability to gather news. It means we can tap into a more extensive network and speak to more Iranians, even if we’re not based in Tehran.’
By Kelly Golnoush Niknejad