Rouhani says journalists should criticize without fear

Iranian officials mark National Journalist Day

August 7, 2019

TEHRAN – President Hassan Rouhani as well as other senior officials underlined the importance of press freedom in remarks ahead of National Journalist Day.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Rouhani said informing people is a very important job which is fulfilled by journalists, ISNA reported.

“The government’s request from the media [outlets] is that they convey the society’s realities to the people and convey the problems and comments of the society, especially the elites, youths and women, to the government,” he said.

“If they see shortcomings in our job, they should articulate the shortcomings without stammer [out of fear],” the president said, adding that freedom of expression is a manifestation of a free society.

Rouhani also said criticism should be offered out of pure motives accompanied by solutions.

August 8 was designated National Reporter’s Day in Iran after Taliban militants killed Mahmoud Saremi, the correspondent of the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), along with eight Iranian diplomats, in the northern Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif in 1998.

Iranians hold ceremonies throughout the country to pay tribute in the honor of the martyred journalists.

Marking the occasion, the Guardian Council issued a message on Wednesday describing journalists as “the sincere border guards of the turbulent zone of news.”

In its message, the Guardian Council commemorated martyr Saremi and other martyred correspondents, saying journalists are committed to observe truthfulness and honesty in order to do their job.

“Without doubt, the media community’s sincere narrators in the revolutionary Iran are among the important pillars and components of a shining element called the Iran of the Islamic Revolution,” it added.

Other top officials also marked the National Journalist Day.

Vice President Es’haq Jahangiri said the Iranian society is in constant need of free, ethical, professional, brave and independent journalists more than ever.

Jahangiri also commemorated the anniversary of Saremi’s martyrdom, saying the incident revived the importance of journalism and media. 

Mahmoud Vaezi, the president’s chief of staff, said the Rouhani administration attaches great importance to the country’s media community.

He thanked the media community for their efforts and services, and stressed the necessity of boosting the cooperation between government officials and journalists.

Culture Minister Abbas Salehi hailed the increasing pluralism in Iranian media sources, saying the country has moved beyond the initial turmoil created by the rise of media pluralism.

“We have moved beyond the period of media turmoil and entered the period of media reflection,” Salehi added.

Ali Akbar Salehi, director of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, described journalists as “Mujahideen in the way of Allah” and “tireless fighters of the campaign of light against darkness.”

He said the teachings of Islam highlight the importance of criticizing wrongful acts and inaccuracies, especially criticizing power and power holders. 

MH/PA

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