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Tehran Times


President Khatami's Advice to Media Must Be Heeded

President Seyed Mohammad Khatami talking to the staff of the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) yesterday underscored the importance of media and said it plays a significant role in forming the public opinion and give events a special direction. He also emphasized the need for criticism which he said is necessary to secure public confidence. Making an appeal to the media persons to keep certain considerations such as security and national interests in mind the President asked them to furnish accurate and sound information to the people. True, IRNA has made paramount headway in news gathering and disseminating the facts on Iran and other countries during the recent past. Our colleagues in IRNA are among the most sincere and hardworking media persons in our country. IRNA is the most prestigious news agency in the region. For that the performance of the agency should be appreciated and President Khatami did it. But the fact is that IRNA has to work hard to touch the internationally accepted standards. This does not apply to IRNA alone; other electronic or print media too have to follow the same path. Naturally, one should not expect too much from IRNA because it is not equipped with the necessary facilities. But still as the President pointed out IRNA shoulders crucial responsibilities. We are living in a world where several interest centers are biased against us. The simple fact is that the Islamic Iran has cut off hands of oppressors in the country and also awoke others to do the same in other parts of the world. The message of the Islamic Revolution is still alive and will remain so until the Doomsday.
This is also a bitter fact that realities about the Islamic Revolution have been distorted and in some cases defaced. It is no good to blame others for the unhealthy climate of the Islamic Revolution in certain cases. Before anybody else, we ourselves are responsible and in most cases IRNA or the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcast (IRIB) are responsible. A very recent and specific example is a story aired last week from Paris in which it was alleged that a person of Bahai sect was executed in Iran. The Western media started giving distorted facts on the execution since last Wednesday without the slightest reaction from IRNA, IRIB or other news sources inside the country. It was on Sunday that facts were revealed by the Islamic Revolutionary Court which denied the report about the execution. Of course, we do realize that in certain cases even IRNA has difficulties in confirming a story or a news item. Hence other sources must also perform their duties to enable IRNA render its services promptly. There are many instances which show that we, as media persons, moved too late or did not move at all while the Western press grabbed the opportunity and highlighted the distortions about Iran. First we, as media persons, should react without wasting any time and secondly we should get rid of rhetoric or cliche. Stereotyped stories sent on the telexes and or broadcast have negative impacts on the readers or listeners. As President Khatami underlined we should present a correct picture of the facts in our society which is moving towards the rule of law. Naturally we have very many minus points in our society. And after all which society across the globe is free from shortcomings? The worst thing is to try to hide the facts. Rest assured we cannot. So better reveal the facts and let the people judge what is right and what is wrong and appreciate or criticize the officials who either will be encouraged or will correct themselves. President Khatami's guidance is not simply for IRNA but for all media persons which deserves to be heeded.

©Copyright 1998, Salam Iran

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