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Information access and journalism in Iran: beyond the stereotypes

Iranians are sophisticated and eager consumers of news, who find ways to get around the limits their government puts on media, explained a panel of journalists and academics who took part in a discussion in Washington, D.C., United States, on February 21.

The discussion, entitled "Journalism In Iran: It's not what you think," was co-sponsored by the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) and the George Washington University's School of Media and Public Affairs.

Joining ICFJ President Joyce Barnathan for the discussion were Majid Joneidi, a producer for the BBC's Persian Service in Washington; Dr. Ahmad Karimi Hakkak, professor and founding director of the University of Maryland's Center for Persian Studies; and Babak Yektafar, editor in chief of the weekly Washington Prism, an online journal in Persian and English.

Iranians have "an amazing hunger for world news," Yektafar said. Because they are used to an environment of government censorship, Hakkak added, they are also "adept at reading between the lines" and figuring out the nuances between what government sources say and what they hear from other sources, such as satellite television and radio programming.

"They want neutral sources of news," Joneidi said; if the issue is U.S.-Iran relations, for example, Iranians will seek out news from the BBC or other European sources.

U.S. media reporting on Iran tends to emphasize contrast, the panelists said, while European media provides a more neutral perspective. 

The IJNet team invites you to continue the discussion on the state of journalism and information access in Iran at

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... Payvand News - 2/27/07 ... --

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