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Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Seyyed Reza Salehi Amiri
Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Seyyed Reza Salehi Amiri

Media Reps, Culture Minister Discuss Critical Issues

Establishment of a comprehensive media system, implementing the law on free access to information and creating fair and equal conditions for all media sections were among the topics brought up by the participants

Media Reps, Culture Minister Discuss Critical Issues

The new Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Seyyed Reza Salehi Amiri, who took office last month, has emphasized the importance of transparency of the press and subsidizing newsprint, stating “these are clear policies and priorities of the ministry.”
In his second meeting with the managing directors of news agencies and the media on Saturday, Salehi Amiri listened to the issues raised by the media representatives and then briefly addressed them, IRNA reported.
“I have been directed by President Hassan Rouhani to provide him with a report of the current status of our press. This offers a proper opportunity for the media to discuss their problems, and I will deliver their opinions and suggestions to the government,” the minister said.
Establishment of a comprehensive media system, implementing the law on free access to information, job security for the press and media people, professional training of journalists, social networks, severe cuts in funding, rising costs, declining incomes, subsidies for the press, creating fair and equal conditions for all sections of the media, and also not threatening them, were among the topics brought up by the participants.
“Some of the points raised in the session can be dealt with while others cannot, but we will try to sum up the main and critical issues and send them to the government,” Salehi Amiri said.
He underlined that transparency of the press and newsprint subsidies “are clear policies and priorities of the ministry.” He said he would seriously pursue the welfare and occupational matters of personnel affiliated to the ministry.

  Dialogue Can Help Resolve Challenges
On the issue of job security, the minister referred to his meeting with the judiciary spokesman, Gholam Hussein Mohseni Ejei, and said, “In my opinion summoning the press and media people to the courts is inappropriate. I suggested measures be taken so that media issues can be resolved by negotiation without summons before the court. I believe if the process of dialogue is launched, it will solve many of the challenges,” Salehi Amiri noted.
Further, pointing to the issue of social networks, he said that some see them as an opportunity while others consider them as a threat. In this case, “we heed the Leader, Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei’s concerns, and believe the cyberspace should neither be (totally) filtered nor (be completely free to) create chaos.”
Salehi Amiri pointed out that the issues raised will be summarized into five major categories and sent to the government.
It should be recalled that on November 5 at the opening of the 22nd Press Exhibition in Tehran, President Rouhani had said, “Certainly, the press and media are the means to convey the people’s thoughts to the ruling establishment and inform the masses about the decisions of the government, and thereby prepare the ground for the development of society.”
The government is preparing a bill so that similar to the medical system and healthcare, there will also be a media system in order that “professional misconduct in the press and media can be handled in their own system, not in a court” of law, the president said.

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