شریف لک‌زایی

اخبار، گفتگوها، یادداشتها، مصاحبه ها و مقاله های دکتر شریف لک زایی

The Freedom of the Press from the Point of View of Imam Khomeini
ساعت ۳:۱٦ ‎ق.ظ روز شنبه ٧ خرداد ۱۳٩٠  کلمات کلیدی: مطالب انگلیسی ، آزادی ، امام خمینی ، وبلاگ
Some people believe that the freedom of the press can lead a society to welfare and happiness and provide the means of development and progress of a country. Saied Jamal Al – Din Asad Abadi, who is one of the contemporary great thinkers and outstanding figures of the present age; it is the ideas that are prevalent about the press.

1 . Introduction: Some people believe that the freedom of the press can lead a society to welfare and happiness and provide the means of development and progress of a country. Saied Jamal Al – Din Asad Abadi, who is one of the contemporary great thinkers and outstanding figures of the present age; it is the ideas that are prevalent about the press. He has considered the existence of freedom as one of the important and affective reasons on the development and progress of the European countries; he says: “one of the means that has led to the development of the western countries is freedom of the press. This freedom makes it possible for the press to diffuse both bad and good characteristics of the rulers. Those who have nice characteristics will develop them and those who are afflicted with corruption and selfishness have to quit them. No body has any objection to the freedom of the press unless they have stood against the truth and rights or they have blamed without reason. A person who is attacked by the press is able to ask for his rights of which he has been bereaved in a court of law, but in our press the situation is completely opposite to this. They appreciate good deeds and they also appreciate the bad deeds. There is no difference between good and bad; there is always exaggeration and the reason for this is lack of inclination on the part of the rulers and governors to correct the press.” ( 1 ) . Is, in fact as what Saied Jamal Al – Din says, the press one of the means of development and progress of societies or in today’s words is the progress of the society dependant on the development of the free and independent of the press? Basically what are the uses of the press in a society that can be considered as the causes of progress and development? Does the press have complete freedom or do they have some limitations and borders? The present research aims at investigating and surveying the points of view of Imam Khomeini about the position and uses of the press. Therefore answering the above questions in the thoughts of Imam Khomeini (R. T. A.) would be our guide through the discussion of this research. The freedom of the press that is considered in the domains of the political freedom and in fact it is one of the most important tests of political freedom. Political freedom in an Islamic society means that “the members of the Islamic society, and not a special group or class or the families of a special race, have effects and roles in the formation and leadership of a political regime; all should have such right. Political freedom means that all individuals and people independent of their clan, language, racial or religious relationships can lead the system to what they think is a favorable situation. . . .

It is natural when there happens for the ideas and view points to be different the idea that has more supporters (of course in the framework the principles and values that have been accepted by that system) its ideas and beliefs would be acceptable and the other have to follow them” ( 2 ) In the continuation of this definition we read: “When it is said that in the Islamic society people have political freedom, it means that they have the rights to choose to politically be active; they have the rights to publish newspaper and media, to form groups, associations, organizations, parties and political gathering and to express their ideas and political views.” (3) . In fact it can be said that Political freedom is expressing the mutual relationship between the rulers and the civilians; that the people have roles in the formation and leading of their political system and they are able to lead it to its perfect form; of course by setting aside the tribal, language, racial and religious inclinations that is available in all the people of a society. In any way with regard to the definition of political freedom that is presented here people are able to express their political ideas and thoughts by the use of the press and thereby can take part in the political system and accordingly play roles in it. They are able to lead the political system tot heir goals and requirements; in addition they are able to discuss their requirements and expectations with the political system. In an Islamic political system all people can take part and be involved in the management of the affairs of the country through their religious teachings and learning. ( 4 ) . One of the best ways to express one’s ideas and viewpoints is making use of the mass media. Independent press and newspapers (those that do not belong to the political system) are in fact apparent means that expose the requirements, desires critiques as well as the objections of the people to the governors and those who are responsible for the system. The dependant newspapers (those who speak from the point of view of the authorities) reflect the ideas and points of view of those who are in power as well as . . . . . . We might be exempted from offering a definition for what “freedom of the press means”. But in order to clarify this concept and the point of view of this article I am hereby giving a definition of the term. Based on the principle of “Freedom of the Press” human beings have the rights to publish their ideas and thinking through the written materials and the press. In order to do this they need no permission or their ideas, to be published, need no censorship” . ( 5 ) . Saied Jamal Aldin Asad Abadi give us an interesting definition of the newspaper and it is : “The meaning of the newspaper is that it should write the truth and open up those niches that are beneficial for the nation; it should tell the mistakes and then discuss the way that they can be corrected. It is not good for a newspaper to fill the newspaper full of exaggerations and overstatements which are not at all interesting. It is better that these kinds of newspapers are not published by any one in order to prevent themselves to be infamous and deplorable in the eyes of the people and the nation.” ( 6 ) . Therefore in the ideas of Saied Jamal, newspaper and in general mass media should try to express reality and publish what is beneficial for the nation and not to cajole and flatter those who are politically powerful. His holiness Imam Khomeini, in accounting for the characteristics of the civilized nations, considers the existence of the free press as its main features. In his ideas, in such societies people have to be free to express their ideas and beliefs in the common level and especially in the mass media. “A civilized nation is the one which is free, its mass media are free and people are free to express their ideas and thinking.” ( 7 ) .

 

2 . In the theoretical models of the contemporary system of the press with regard to the dominant press and political society of the country we are always facing with the opposing and various points of view regarding the ideas and theory of Imam Khomeini about the mass media and the press. The main question is what the theoretical model dominant on the thinking of Imam Khomeini are. About the system dominating the press system there has been quite a lot of different and various theories by the theorists. ( 8 ) . Although there is not enough opportunity and time to expound and explain all the theoretical models of the media and press system, I hereby briefly refer to most important one of these theories to choose for the theoretical framework of the present research. All in all it is possible to discuss the theoretical models dominant on the press system in the form of three general theories: authoritarian; freedom and social responsibility. A. The Authoritarian Theory: on the basis of this theory that has been much the effects of the authoritarian ambience of the end of the Renaissance, reality is something more than the result of the efforts of the mass of the people; it is the result of the efforts of a few and wise human beings who have the responsibility of leading the masses. These wise men are the same ruling geniuses who have power over the people due to their intelligence and better thoughts. They are the ones who are responsible for leading and publishing knowledge. In other words truth and reality are the two sides of the same coin and the nearer the people are to the center the more they come close to the truth. In this theory the media are mainly in the hands of the government and therefore any protest and critique is regarded to be damaging and a threat for the stability and immunity of the government and thus it is opposed. In general it can be said it is the political geniuses in power who decide whether a newspaper is printed or not. In fact based on this model the geniuses think instead of the people and they make movements and they take the responsibility to lead the thinking of the people. ( 9 ) . In any way, this model has a minimalist point of view of the mass media and their freedom. ( 10 ) . Therefore the territories and the boundaries of the mass media is understood from the speeches and thoughts of Imam Khomeini and accordingly they would ask for more lawful and even unlawful means in this regard. According to this understanding from the ideas and point of view of Imam Khomeini, one can see that he not only did not consider the mass media and the newspapers appositive means but also considered as a means for destroying and weakening of religion and religious system of the society; they also are considered as means of weakening the politico – religious system of the government and therefore they are the means of destroying and the society. On the basis of this model the existence of the free and independent press in the Islamic society will lead to the weakening and insecurity of the religious basses of the people and hence the weakening of the religious institutes. Also in this point of view, it is possible that the free and independent mass media and press that are active in the frame of law endanger and threaten the national immunity and the civil order. . . . . . . Therefore the mass media and the press should be in the service of the rulers and they have to comply with whatever the rulers say or wish. People do not understand what is good for them correctly and therefore the rulers decide for them and thus the newspapers should be restricted more. This point of view considers the press in the service of the rulers and the political power; Of course it is possible that such opposition to the news papers has its origins in the political and party contests and motives. But the reality is that such point of view can be seen clearly in the social level and the press system of the country. B. Freedom Theory: This theory which is the result of the growth of political democracy, religious freedom, growth of the free trade and free economics as well as the philosophy of humanism decreased the authoritative ambience. Accordingly it entailed a new concept named freedom theory. In any way this theory become more dominant in the last years of the 17th C. and the years of the 18th C. and continued into the 19th C. Liberalism, as a newfangled social and political system, was a framework in which different organizations including specially the press, with regard to the dominant philosophical principles, played their relative roles. This theory started from the 17th C. when England saw that the government has the press activities under control to a great extent. . . . . . . The government was making use of different and various controls and censorships and justifying them that their freedom is a threat for the immunity and the stability of the government. The freedom seeking claims of the liberal thinkers were in fact reactions against extreme use of power. In any way this theory is basically based on the classical liberalism and the limited government, the government of law, rejecting the abuse of power and dependant on discretion and appreciation of the private property. Freedom is between the people and people are responsible for their fate. Based on this theory the portion of liberalism in the mass media includes insisting on personal importance, dependence on the personal reasoning and the concept of natural rights and freedom of religion, statement and the press is a part of it. On the basis of this model human being is a rational and wise animal with a special purpose and one should not look at it just as a mere device. Human beings as a thoughtful organism are able to decide about his advantages and can organize the surrounding areas of it. It is a creature that is different from the other animals because of its capability to think and remember, to make use of different experiences, analyzing and coming to conclusion; he is a unique creature. The fulfillment of the potential humanitarian dimensions is one of the final goals that he wishes to achieve. Therefore the society and the government should not have any goal except for the fulfillment of his existential dimensions. ( 11 ) . . . . . . . IN any way this perspective has an extreme point of view about the freedom of the press. A group discuss Imam Khomeini’s point of view in this framework. They require absolute freedom of the press out of Imam Khomeini’s speeches. ( 12 ) . They are asking for the preparation of situations in which the newspapers can reflect and show the events and truth as well as realities in a better way. From this point of view the newspaper and the press can step in the way for the progress, development and political advancement of the society and bring with them happiness and felicity. In addition in this perspective, not only the mass media and the press, of course within the frame of law, are not regarded as the causes of national insecurity and social disorder but also they are regarded as strengthening means of social order and national security. From this point of view the rulers as well as the political power are in the service of the mass media and the press. In any way both of these perspectives that we have referred to (limited and authoritative point of view and the extremist and free point of view. . . . . .) express their own interpretations of the speeches of Imam Khomeini about the mass media and the press and they are making use of them for their own benefits. The question here is which theory is more in accordance with the ideas of Imam Khomeini? Is it possible to say that the ideas of Imam Khomeini regarding the mass media and the press does not accord with any one of thee two approaches and it discords with both and accordingly we have to take a new i. e. the third point of view? . . . . . . The answer to this question will be clarified in the third model. C. The social responsibility Model: this model is in fact the completed form of the freedom theory. In addition to accepting the freedom – seeking functions of the mass media and the newspaper, it considers some other special functions for it such as commitment and responsibility with regard to the people and society. The main point of this theory is that freedom and commitment are two sides of the same coin and as the mass media and the newspaper are allowed to criticize the government and the other organizations they have responsibility about immunity and the national advantages and benefits ; they have to reflect the needs of the people. Based on this theory the need of the people to have access to the right and truthful information is superior to the need of the mass media and the newspapers to complete freedom. The mass media and the newspapers have to . . . . . . understand their missions and they have to set them as the bases for their functional policies. This theory can answer the needs of the society. But if the mass media and the newspapers forget their missions, it is the duty of the other organizations to supervise the basic function of the mass media and the newspapers and make sure that these functions are done in the most perfect way. The supporters of this theory say that: 1 . The mass media and the newspapers should present a real, comprehensive and clear explanation of the every day events 2 . The mass media and the newspapers should be means for exchange of the ideas and for showing critiques. 3 . The mass media and the newspapers should reflect all the existing groups of the society; 4 . The mass media and the newspapers should reflect and show the means and values of the society. 5 . The mass media and the newspapers should have access to the true and right information and they have to be updated. On the other hand people in this theory have some commitments with regard to the mass media and the newspapers. People have to understand that that the mass media and the newspapers have strong powers and that this power is in the hands of a few people and that the mass media and the newspapers are facing some disadvantages as well. If in the freedom model what is focused at is the negative aspect of freedom (freedom from external limitations and restrictions . . . . . .), in the social responsibility theory it is tried to emphasize the positive points of freedom i. e. freedom for the sake of achieving nice goals and the basis of this theory the government should not authorize freedom rather it should be strengthened and developed actively and in necessary conditions they should take care of the civilians. ( 13 ) . Here in this theory what is seen is a perspective that can be located within the two previously mentioned theories. It can be said that the appropriate and acceptable theory with the speeches of Imam Khomeini id the theory of social responsibility. Because in his ideas the media will have two different functions: They can both move in the positive direction and enact the talents of the people and prepare the way for the people to grow and thereby develop the Islamic system; they have to commit to their commitments and responsibilities. They can also move in the negative direction and thereby they will make the society inactive, silent and aberrant and they can move in the direction that is disadvantageous for the people; in this way they move against their commitment and responsibility. . . . . . . This theory can explain and expound the ideas and thinking of Imam Khomeini about the mass media and the press both before the Islamic Revolution and after the revolution. Before the Islamic revolution he protested about the freedom of the mass media and the press in attacking the sacred beliefs and things of the people and he asked for their restrictions and limitation; why are these mass media and the presses are free? Why they are attributing unmanly and wrong attributes? If the clergy goes, the country will not have any supporter. Why the mass media and the presses are free to this extent? ( 14 ) . In these cases Imam Khomeini’s focus and concentration is on the subject that the mass media and the press should preserve and keep the values of the people and they have to avoid attacking sacred beliefs and values of the people as well as the Islamic values that have been accepted by the people. . . . . . . In addition it is at that time that we see he has talked about lack of freedom for the mass media and the press; he is criticizing the regime for and says why does not the regime pass a law based on which the mass media and the presses are free so that they may discuss what ever they may believe in? “You sit down and act based on the constitution law. The constitutional law has freed the mass media and the press; do you let them be free? Are we backward when we say act on the constitutional law and let the mass media and the presses be free? . . . . . . . ( 15 ) . What we want to say is that it is incumbent to act on the basis of the constitutional law. The mass media and the press are free; writing is free; and let them write subject matter. . . . . .( 16 ) . What is intended by Imam Khomeini here is that it is good if the newspapers and the mass media can reflect and show the requirement of the people and criticize the regime and its authorities as well as their policies and no body is allowed to silence them or to apply censorship on what they want to write. . . . . . . Therefore according to this model there is no discrepancy in Imam Khomeini’s speeches about the mass media and the presses and this is the best and the most appropriate paradigm in the frame of which the speeches of Imam Khomeini can be understood and interpreted. According to these ideas a third model is formed about the thoughts of Imam Khomeini concerning the mass media and the presses. From this perspective the mass media and the presses have a two – fold application and function: They have to take care of the benefits and advantages of the people and they have to try to clarify and enlighten the people. They have to avoid the subject matters and issues that are not beneficial for the people and the general welfare. According to this approach whenever the government observes violation of the law it takes action against tem and acts on its supervisory mission that it has with regard to the mass media and the presses. In any way this theory can be regarded as the appropriate or mediocre model for the mass media and the presses and the ideas and thinking of Imam Khomeini is understandable and decipherable in this theory. . . . . . .

 

3 . the functions of the press in the society has been taken care of for various and different reasons. One of these functions is that the mass media and the presses can play roles in the political growth and development of the society and the extension of the common culture. “In the western countries the written works, the number of the books, magazines and the press, the number and their variety, the degree of their accessibility for the people, the degrees of their usefulness, the rate of people’s references to the libraries, the ratio of the individual to the number of the book, magazines and the mass media and the presses they buy as well as . . . . . . are regarded as the major criteria of development and progress.” ( 17 ) . At the present moment in our society the mass media and the newspapers; the number and the variety of the newspaper in our society is so much that they cover almost all the politico – thinking movements in the society. On the other hand and in addition to the number and the variety of the newspapers that are published the number of the people that are studying them has notably increased. In any way what we mean is to express this point that not only the role of the press has not decreased in the society rather it has increased day by day and step by step and it attracted more addressees to it. ( 18 ) .With regard to the accepted model to interpret the speeches of Imam Khomeini i. e. the social responsibility model the newspaper will have a two – fold mission each of which has a special function and attends to a specific direction; In Imam Khomeini’s words: “The newspapers and the mass media can develop a country and lead them to a path that is advantageous for them; on the other hand they can also work vice – versa. “ ( 20 ) . Therefore the managers of the newspapers and the mass media should think about the responsibility and the role of these important media in society and about their continuation of existence; they should always bear the benefits and advantages of the society; they should stop going to the extremes and try their best to take an appropriate and middle position as well as take care of their social responsibility. It is on this basis that Imam Khomeini expects the newspapers and the mass media to appear in the form of a coach and lead the society. “All the newspapers and the mass media are the coaches of the society; they have to rear the society and the people living in it and they have to serve the country and its welfare.” ( 21 ) . In this speech he also refers to the educational role of the newspapers and the mass media and they have been asked to serve the people and publish their ideas and ideals. “The newspapers and the mass media should be in the service of the country, the newspapers and the mass media should reflect the ideas and the ideals of the nation; they should reflect what our nation wants.” ( 22 ) . One should note that by serving the country he meant that they have educational and humanitarian role. In this regard he says: “The magazine should be in the service of the country; it is to serve the country to rear, to rear young people, to make human beings; to make brave human beings; to create thoughtful men to be beneficial for the country” ( 23 ) . Therefore one important function of the newspaper in the point of view of Imam Khomeini is making human beings and thoughtful young men. In fact Imam Khomeini believes that the newspapers and the mass media have important roles in the education of the thoughtful men, scientists and future politicians of the Islamic society. The newspapers and the mass media in the social responsibility model has prevented the energy and the talent of the people to go astray and instead they moved them in the direction in which their beliefs, talents and energy are activated. It would be very terrible if they lead the youths towards aberrations and lead them astray and afflict them with vanity, absurdity perplexity. In any way, in as much as the future of a country is to great extent dependant on the degree of the work and efforts of its youths as well as the degree of knowledge, talent, zeal, creativity and wisdom as well as originality they can reach, the newspapers and the mass media can play an important and vital role in this path. The other function of the media from the point of view of Imam Khomeini is that the newspapers and the mass media are one of the important factors for keeping freedom and independence of a country. The continuation of freedom and independence that came into being with the establishment of the Islamic revolution is dependant on the awareness and vigilance of all different groups of the country; one of the most important guards of this basic principle and slogan i. e. “Independence, Freedom, Islamic Republic” is the newspapers and the mass media. Imam Khomeini says : “if the magazine has a subject matter that moves the nation, it should be for the independence of itself, for the freedom itself and for safe – keeping of the nation; if by magazine, such magazine is meant, then it is an Islamic magazine and it is an Islamic republic magazine.” ( 24 ) . In addition to the important role of the newspapers and the mass media in human making, it has another function and it is moving the nation in a way to keep Independence, Freedom, Islamic Republic. It is natural that if the newspapers and the mass media do their first mission i. e. human making and move in that direction, it will be successful in the second role i. e. to move the nation. Of course readiness to defend and keep one’s country’s freedom and independence is fulfilled in many dimensions. It can be said that one of the important functions of the newspapers and the mass media is the role they play in political development and in extension of the democratic ambience of the society. In theoretic look the newspapers and the mass media play the role of a spotlight. In fact the newspapers and the mass media as a spotlight make the political scene clear for the people and they leave no dim angel. With the lightening of this spotlight, the authorities and those who are in power, think that they are exposed to the eyes of the common people. Therefore in this outlook the media create an ambience that exposes the function of all the authorities, organizations as well as governmental or non – governmental institutes and let the people see them; accordingly the authorities are exposed to the eyes of the people and they think they are responsible for their incorrect and wrong deeds. On the other the newspapers and the mass media can internalize the domination of the people. When there is the issue of power balance among the powers and political powers can not understand each other, it is newspapers and the mass media that try to show the scene less violent than what it may be. The other basic function of the press is that they try to remove the information discrepancies. This means that by the re – distribution of the information and knowledge they cause balance in the power balances. When there is extremism in the minds of the people and then balances created this balance shows itself in the society as well. Therefore the press can create balance against great and power media such as radio and TV. This is a kind of creation of democratic ambience and in this way they help freedom, democracy and the domination of the people. ( 25 ) . (In addition we can refer to another function of the press and that is the newspapers and the mass media, as they are modern phenomena and independent of what they are presenting to their addressees, cause the free movement of free information and the free movement of information will automatically result in the advent and strengthening of the new class of people i .e. the middle class. This class that is available in the third world countries and the developing countries are the main transporters of democracy. Therefore the newspapers and the mass media independent of what they transmit are useful and effective in the process of democratization of the society. ( 26 ) . In any way it should be noted that the newspapers and the mass media have been very effective in the development and expansion of democracy and in this way it is good to be called the forth source of power. The newspapers and the mass media form a powerful political means that can be very effective in reaching political development. Even it can be said that: “The numerous number of the news means can be one of the many elements of a regime as the number of the parties can be. This means that if the various political parties are not accompanied with the variety of the news means, they are imaginative and not real.” ( 27 ) . It is possible to say that one of the major priority of the independent and free as well as non – governmental newspapers and the mass media ensure the existence of different ideas and points of view in apolitical regime and system. It is in this way that one can tell whether autocracy is dominated in a country or it is the people that are dominant. One of the other duties of the newspapers and the mass media is criticizing the performance of the authorities of the political regime and defending the primary rights of the people against the political powers. Of course what we have supposed is that the rulers in Iran are religious and it is quite natural that the rights of the people are respected and their logical and lawful requirements are met. In a Shiite religious system people have a sense of identification with the government and accordingly they show more sensitivity about their functions and performances. Therefore the emergence of any aberration and deviation in the political system and in the authorities of the system will be accompanied with the reaction of the people and arouses the sense of responsibility and they are made subjected to criticism and protest. Without doubt in a government that is based on the religious teachings, faithful, civilized and religious people can not observe injustice, oppression and the propagation of aberrance and violence as well as . . . . . . The political domination of religion means the existence of justice and observing the rights of the people; it also means the negation of corruption in society. Therefore people show reaction against any oppression and suppression that is caused by any person or group and they do not remain silent against them. The newspapers and the mass media are appropriate means to transfer the voices of the people and those who seek their rights to the ears of the authorities. A researcher has understood from ayah No. 148 of Al _ Nisa Surah (Women Verse) ( 28 ) that: “whenever there is a cruelty in society they should be reflected in society. In addition the newspapers and the mass media are the means of evaluation of the performance of the government and a center for presenting the counseling ideas of the people. And we know that such a mission is a valuable one from the point of Qur’an. ( 29 ) . Of the other functions of the press from the point of view of Imam Khomeini one should refer to the creation of hope and certainty among people. The newspapers and the mass media in this role are the messengers of hope and as means of strengthening the feeling of self – confidence and certainty among people; therefore they have to avoid whatever may dishearten and damage the felling of self – confidence of the people. His holiness Imam Khomeini says: “our writers and our reporters have to seek the ways that they can give hopes to the nation and they should avoid disheartening of the people. They have to say we are capable nation and not an incapable one. They should say we ourselves can and in fact it is as such; we can but we have to have this inclination. The best service that our writers can offer these days is to show a nation that is standing against the west and east powers and does not like to be dependant on the western and eastern powers; they have to give hopes and encourage them to remain independent of the east and west for ever. If these writers and these reporters, instead of finding faults with one another and fighting each other,. Create hope in the nation and create certainty among them, the nation will be independent spiritually. It is the duty of the newspapers and the mass media, their reporters and speakers to do so. By limiting and restricting the freedom of the press, we neither mean the limitations and restrictions that the cruel governments apply on their newspapers and the mass media nor the restrictions and limitations that the cruel countries (as well as the cruel and ignorant people who are do not understand freedom) apply on their country. We mean those logical and lawful restrictions that have been mentioned in the speeches of Imam Khomeini and they have been approved in the constitutional and the communal law. It is clear that the imposition limitations and restrictions as well as provisions on the newspapers and the mass media is because of the abuses that have been made of freedom and accordingly endanger the benefits and welfare of the Islamic society. Such restrictions and limitations are justifiable and understandable not in terms of the authoritative model but on the basis of the social responsibility theory and they do not have any discrepancy with the freedom of the press. The provisions and restrictions to which Imam Khomeini has referred in his speeches are: A. Law: This point of view of Imam Khomeini can be seen in all stages of freedom very clearly. In general, according to Imam Khomeini freedom is permitted in so far as it does not pass the lawful and logical boundaries. In as much as law is the provider of immunity and security for all the people and it arranges the behavior of the people in society, it is thus a reliable and an important source for the preservation and extensions of freedom and especially for the newspapers and the mass media. It is in this way that newspapers and the mass media are kept safe from the possible attacks and aggressions and they will perform their commitment and responsibility in the society. The Law No . 24 of the constitutional Law says: “ The newspapers and the mass media are free in expressing their points of view unless it endangers the principles of Islam or the public rights. This is made clear by law.” In this principle the freedom of the press has been considered obligatory and on the other hand it has been restricted by two elements: “first that no danger should be aimed at the principles of Islam and second it does not meddle with the communal rights.” As it was mentioned in the end of the law of the newspapers and the mass media, in the end of chapter No. 6 and 4, approved by the parliament in 1364, these two important issues are mentioned. ( 31 ) . His holiness Imam Khomeini (R. T. A.) has in many cases considered freedom in the law boundaries: "In every country freedom is in the boundary of law. People are not free to break the laws." (3 2 ) . B: Scriptures: The newspapers are free to write subjects and issues freely but are they free to insult the scriptures and holy believes of the people? ( 33 ) . In some other cases he says: "it is necessary that the newspapers correct themselves and do not betray Islam and the Muslims. They should not pour the blood of the poor; they should not propagate negative propaganda. They have to prevent the intrigues." ( 34 ) . C: Intrigue, instigation and weakness: "We have always mentioned during the victory of the Islamic revolution that the freedom of the press is what we want. The media press has to avoid printing the topics that instigate or weaken people and or those which are against reality; they have to adapt themselves with the Islamic Revolution; they have to avoid printing the articles that endanger the Islamic Revolution and cause schism; because these are considered intrigue themselves. " ( 35 ) . D. Blame, Lie, and Hearsay: "I am hereby advising the people of the newspapers, the mass media as well as the reporters to stop propagating hearsay and avoid publishing trashy issues and wrong subjects just to increase their print – run. If the nation feels there is a kind of intrigue or plot they will be treated in a different way. Please do not abuse your freedom and do not quit the paths of the people; avoid aggrandizing small and little events because it is what the welfare of the people is dependant on it. " ( 36 ) . In addition: ". . . . . . . are [ newspapers ] free to insult people? To blame them? This is not freedom. Freedom can not be in any way intrigue. If a newspaper wants to conduct an intrigue and follow the paths of the enemy and try to promote the inimical deeds our nation would not accept such freedom" ( 37 ) . E: Spitefulness and making negative uses of freedom: "you, who are holding a pen and write for all, criticizing the organizations, are free; but bear in mind if you were able to take your pen and write even a word about these organizations three years ago? They would have broken your pen and they would surely kill you? You do not know how to appreciate freedom. Now freedom has become a means of playing for some people. They think they have to write whatever their heart asks or they think they have to say whatever their heart says." ( 38 ) . In summing what has been so far said, it can be said that the principal in Imam Khomeini's political thinking is based on the freedom of the press. As in the beginning of the victory of the Islamic revolution, freedom is absolutely dominant on the press and society. But after this time since the media people have made a lot of abuses of freedom; accordingly some rules have been laid down to arrange the foot of the press. The speeches of the Imam Khomeini in this regard are valuable. In this regard he says: "We have given them freedom, absolute freedom; and in this few months about 200 parties and groups a lot of newspapers, magazines and press have been published and no body prevented it. While they have attacked our holy beliefs and values; you have done the same with our government, our Islam and we did not do any thing in return until we saw the riot and we understood that you are rioters. After your riot has been proved we are not able to let you do whatever you wish freely. We will eradicate you." ( 39 ) . Of this speech of Imam Khomeini the theory of freedom is extracted. According to him in the beginning of the Islamic Revolution all groups and parties have had absolute freedom but they have abused this freedom and they have gone so far as they tried to overthrow the newly established Islamic government. As a result the freedom of the press has been to a great extent limited and some restrictions have been laid on the press. Some where else Imam Khomeini is emphasizing this point that: "From the beginning of our revolution there were all kinds of freedom in Iran and we have given all parties that were in the country some opportunities and there was no prevention of any kind. But the intrigues started; when they saw they are free the intrigues started; it was a pen – intrigues (in written materials) and they wanted to deviate the path of our nation; our nation is supporting freedom and it supports every kind of freedom but it does not support intrigue and it does not support falsehood." ( 40 ) . Therefore from the point of view Of Imam Khomeini the principle is based on the freedom of the press and in so far as the presses are committed to their responsibility and communal commitment there would be restrictions on them. In the beginning of the Islamic revolution this was the basis of treatment of the press but with the start of some crises and issues that were the result of abusing this holy principle, the short period of absolute freedom came to its end and another theoretical method dominated the society. Of course there is not complete agreement on this issue. Some believe that the theoretical model of authoritarianism was dominated ( 41 ) and some others believe that the theoretical model of social responsibility was dominated. What is so clear is that the freedom of the beginning years of the Islamic revolution was no more available but one should bear in mind that with the establishment of the law (constitutional law as well as the laws of the press approved by the Islamic Council) ( 42 ) the social responsibility model became dominant. One of the researchers in the political issues in explaining the lawfulness of the political regimes in contemporary Iran has talked about different models such as freedom and democracy, religion and justice as well as the age of progress; he believes that the freedom principles has never been the source of the political order. For this reason as soon as the political order has been stabilized, freedom has been the first important issue that has gone out of the political order. According to him there are different political and authoritative as well as chaos periods and a political system has always been taken into question and challenged so that another political system takes its place. In this way the freedom and democracy of this period is transient and as soon as a new system is replaced it is omitted. He justifies deletion of the freedom model after the victory of the Islamic Revolution and the establishment of a new one by this model. Therefore in this approach other models of the lawfulness of the political systems are regulatory; but the freedom and democracy models have negating aspects and they are criticizing the existing political order and the political systems have always been looking for them and they have looked for them. In any way the opponents of the a political system by making use of democracy and freedom models, challenge the existing system but after the establishment of the new political order this model is set to oblivion; in other words it is one of the first victims of the new order. But in fact the question is that I f we can attribute such an issue to Imam Khomeini and think that he has made use of the freedom and democracy models as a means against the second Pahlavi regime and one can not see any sign of stability and consistency inn his thinking and approach? In other words, did Imam Khomeini made use of freedom as a means for disagreement with the existing political order intentionally otherwise there was not the idea of freedom in his thinking? My answer to this question is negative. It seems that the idea of freedom and especially the freedom of the press has not been there in the political thoughts just as a means to fight with the established political systems. As it was previously mentioned the analysis and the explanation of the freedom of the press in the thoughts of Imam Khomeini is more than any other model in accordance with the social responsibility and nothing else. It is with regard to this theoretical model that one can investigate the ideas of Imam Khomeini in this regard in different periods (before the Islamic revolution, the beginning years of the Islamic revolution and after wards until his death). As he was defending the freedom of the press in the Pahlavi regime, he is defending this condition in the Islamic Revolution period; and as he was admonishing the people about the endless and extreme freedom of the press in attacking the sacred beliefs of the people in the Pahlavi regime and asked them not to attack them he was stating this in the Islamic Revolution era and asked the press people to keep the sanctum of the sacred issues and not to threaten them. Therefore it can be understood that when the newspapers and the press were limited when they were moving towards overthrowing of the Political system of the Islamic Revolution; the mere establishment of the new political order can not be an appropriate evidence for the omission of freedom and democracy. In the conditions after the victory of the Islamic revolution the press and the newspapers had a notable advancement and even some of the newspapers were published by those organizations that have fought with the newly establishment of the political orders. It was natural that the forces of the new political system, to preserve what they have fought for, have gone to towards doing some works so that the political system has stability, consistency and validity and thereby they wanted to decrease the existing chaos of the society. And it was in this ay that the freedom period of the press that was in fact tested came to its end and then the new age of social responsibility started. In addition, holding about 20 different country – wide elections with regard to the difficult and hard conditions such as the imposed war and . . . . . . . are clear signs that different aspects of freedom have been notable in the social responsibility model. In addition freedom is regarded as one of the notable issues in the political thoughts of Imam Khomeini; it was not just a means to make use of in his fighting with the political order of that time. In addition to that what we claim is that the freedom and democracy model and the lawfulness of the political system have not ended in the years after the victory of the Islamic revolution rather what has been changed and altered is a transmission from the theoretical model of freedom to the theoretical model of social responsibility.

 

5 . Summary and coming to a conclusion out of what has so far been discussed: In this written document there is not much space and opportunity to discuss the dimensions and angels of this subject matter and to expound them. The results and findings if this research are: 1 . Freedom of the press is one of the most important and basic testimonies of political freedom. It is possible to investigate and compare different political systems through the degree of the press in those countries and to investigate and compare the independence as well as dependence of different presses in different countries; it is also possible to survey the degree of democracy in those countries. In the countries in which the newspapers and the media are regarded valuable and worthy and there is an appropriate political ambience people freely express their ideas and political thoughts within the framework of law. In the autocratic societies free expressions of ideas in newspapers is not possible. The theoretical model dominant on the political thinking of his holiness Imam Khomeini about the media and the press is the social responsibility. With this model it is possible to investigate and analyze the thinking of Imam Khomeini and thereby answer, explain and expound the possible oppositions that may happen in the text, context, and his thinking. This theoretical model with the extensive limitations that it imposes on the press and the people is in contrast with the freedom model of Imam Khomeini. In addition the freedom model in Imam Khomeini's point of view is valuable in so far as it is not abused. But in as much as the society and the political groups have not yet achieved that thinking maturity or their benefits does not allow to make use of freedom in a correct and faultless way and without the supervision of the supervisory organizations, therefore there is no way unless one turns towards the theoretical model of social responsibility. This is the completed form of the freedom theory. Based on this model there is the third approach about the thinking of Imam Khomeini which presents an appropriate and middle approach about the freedom of the press and there is no extremism in it. Third: In the thinking of Imam Khomeini the mass media and the press have two different applications: They can both play a positive role in the growth and development of the society as well as the political development and a negative role in leading the society towards deviation, backwardness and illiteracy of the society culturally and scientifically. The other positive function of the mass media and the newspapers in the ideas and thinking of Imam Khomeini is the role of leading and coaching the society. In other words the newspapers and the mass media should act like a merciful teacher and a nice coach and try to rear and grow the talents of the people of the society. The other function of the mass media and the newspapers is to preserve and guard the independence of the country and freedom in the Islamic Revolution; they have to encourage and entice people to fulfill such a role; this is the other duty of the mass media and the newspapers in the Islamic regime. In addition in the absence of political parties the mass media and the newspapers as well as the other social and civil organizations play the role of a mediator between people and the rulers and thereby they can criticize the function of the authorities and expose what they do to the eyes of the common people. The clarification of the situation and stating reality and truth will lead to the free circulation of the information. Therefore in this application the duty of the mass media and the newspapers is the critique of the performances of the political authorities of the government and defending the primary rights of the people against the rulers and the politically powerful people. The other function of the mass media and the newspapers from the point of view of Imam Khomeini and is the creation of hope in the hearts of the people; they have to revitalize faith, the sense of self – confidence and lack of dependence on the strangers and foreigners in the minds and hearts of the people. Therefore in answering the first question of this article it can be said that the mass media and the newspapers have a very vital role in the extension and political development of the society and thereby they will help the creation of the social and civil organizations. In addition to this they will provide the context to criticize the rulers and by showing and broadcasting the truth and realities they will prepare the way to judge the overall [performance of the government. Fourth: In as much as the explanation of the speeches of Imam Khomeini is possible in the social responsibility model it is quite natural that the mass media and the newspapers, in addition to having complete freedom, suffer some restrictions as well. In the ideas and thinking of Imam Khomeini, the only thing that restricts and limits the mass media and the newspapers is law. Therefore he believes in the principle of freedom but with in the frame work of law; it is the law that ensures the survival and welfare of the mass media and the newspapers and creates order in the society. The other means of restriction for the media and the press are: insulting the sacred, intrigue, enticement and weakening, blame, wrong and false statement, making abuses of freedom as well as propagation of corruption and aberration in the society. In any way to answer the questions that have been stated in the beginning of this article it can be said that nowadays one of the means of development and progress in societies is the rise of the press and mass media and the newspapers. Independent and free mass media and the newspapers as the fourth pillar of power in the systems and regimes that claim democracy have vital roles in leading the society to the wise and reasonable goals and directions. On the basis of the theory of the social responsibility the mass media and the newspapers do not have absolute freedom and there are some lawful and logical limitations that they should abide by. Of course these limitations are so much so that the freedom of statement of the mass media and the press as well as their independence is not hurt; they have to be the speakers of the people and should not be dependant on the rulers and the powerful. It is in these conditions that the mass media and the press act on their mission and commit to their responsibility regarding society based on the social responsibility theory.

Footnotes:

1 . The letters and the political documents of Saied Jamal Al – Din Asad Abadi; compiled as a result of the efforst of Abu Al – Hassan Jamali Asad Abadi . Third Ed . ( Tehran : Parastoo Books an imprint of Amir Kabir Pub . Co . , 1360 . ) P . P . 69 – 70 .
2 . Hoseh Thinking . Fifth Year , Summer 1387 . No . 17 . P . 102. This definition has been given by our supreme leader his holiness Ayat Allah Khamenei. Stating this definition in addition to be a definition in the Islamic thinking area is introducing a point of view that is dominant on the Islamic Republic of Iran. It is interesting that among the definitions that have been offered for the political freedom this definition is more comprehensive. For more information refer to : Dr. Manoochehr Taba Tabaei Moatameni . General Freedom and Human Right . ( Tehran: University of Tehran Pub . Co . 1370 ) . Karl Kohen. Democracy . Trans . by : Fariborz Majidi . (Tehran: Kharazmi Pub . Co . 1373 ); Frans Newman Freedom, Power and Law. Trans . By : Ezzat Allah Foolad Vand. (Tehran : Karazmi Pub . Co . ) .
3 . Hozeh Thinking . Ibid . P . 106 .
4 . The Principle of Ordering To de Good and To Avoid Bad . Counseling Principle . The Advises of the Muslims's Imams . . . . . . and all people to take part in the civil affairs. It is also possible to make use of the following statement as well: Those who do not pay attention to the affairs of the Muslims are not Muslims. Behar , Vol . 71 . Printed in Beirut . P . 336 .
5 . Ali Agha Bakhsi and etal . The Dictionary Political Sciences . ( Tehran : The Center for the Scientific Doucuments and Information , 1375 ) P . 151 . Abd _ al Rahim Talebof in defining the freedom of the press writes: "A person is free to publish what he has written and he should not be objected unless what he publishes creates an obstacle for freedom or is corrupted. Dr. Saied Mahmoud Hashemi. Constitutional Law of the Islamic Republic of Iran . ( Tehran : University of Shahid Beheshti Pub . Co .1374 ) Vol . 1 . P . 5 . Also have a look at : Dr . Mohammad JAfar Langaroodi . Terminology of Law . (Tehran: Ganj danesh Pub . Co . 1374 ) P . 32 .
6 . The letters and political document of Saied Jamal Al – Din Asad Abadi under the efforts of Saied Hadi Khosro Shahi. P . 55 . Quoted from Kazem GHoli Zadeh. The religious – Political thinking of Imam Khomeini ) . Tehran : The Center for the Strategic Research in the Presidential department , 1377 ) P . 291 .
7 . Kowsar . The collection of Imam Khomeini's speeches , along with what had happened in the revolution. (Tehran . The Institute for Publishing and printing the Works of Imam Khomeini , 1371 ) Vol . 1 P . 346 . (28 / 8 / 57).
8 . About the theories related to the concept of freedom there has been quite a lot of ideas which include 2 – 6 theories . In order to have the complete grasp of these theories refer to interview of Intikhab Newspaper with Dr. Ali Asghar Kia. 15 August 1999. No . 153 . P . 5 . It should be noted that his interview with this newspaper has been reprinted once more in another issue. 22 August 1999. No . 9 . 1311. Dr. Ali Asghar Kia. Intikhab Newspaper, The same Iran Newspaper, Ibid.
10 . The Book of the 6th Festival of the Press; The General office for propagation in the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance ( Tehran , First Ed . 1378 ) . P . 18 .
11 . Dr. Ali Asghar Kia, the two previously mentioned sources.
12 . The Book of the 6th Festival of the Press; Ibid . P . 18 .
13 : Dr. Ali Asghar Kia, the two previously mentioned sources.
14. Kowsar. Ibid. Vol . 1 . P. 25 . (11 / 4 / 1341 ) . These critical speeches of Imam Khomeini indicates that the mass media and the press were free to attack the sacred and the clergy in those days.
15 . Ibid . Vol . 1 . P . 115 . ( 16 / 1 / 1343 ) .
16 . Ibid. Vol . 1 P . 120 . (26 / 1 / 134 3 ) .
17. Mohammad Ibrahim Ansari Lari. Supervising the Press In Iran (Tehran : Soroush Pub . Co . 1375 ) P . 14 .
18 . Of course nowadays the electronic versions are taking place of the written texts and it is predicted that the e – press would be better in future. Therefore it is possible that after sometimes there is no track of the printed and written press. Look at the Interview of Iran Newspaper with theorists in this regard. 7 November 1999 . No . 1375 . Fifth Year . P. 6 .
19 . Janus the first Mythological king of Latium in the present Italy; According to this legend God had given clear sightedness to this king in a way that he could see the past and the future. Seeing the past and the future caused him to be presented with two faces. In the coins and money of Rome the picture of this king has been printed with two faces. Moris de Roge in a book called the Principle of the Political Science draw an analogy between politics and this king for both have two different faces. Moris de Roge Principle of the Political Science. Trans . By : Dr . Abu Al – Fazl Ghazi ( Tehran , Dad Gostar 20 )
20 . 1376 Sahifeh Noor, Vol . 14 . P : 248 .
21 . Ibid . Vol . 6 . P . 193 .
22 : Ibid . Vol . 6 . p . 192 .
23 . Ibid . Vol . 8 . p . 24 .
24 . Ibid .
25 . The Book of the 6th Festival of the Press; Ibid . The General office for propagation in the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance ( Tehran , First Ed . 1378 ) . P . 53 . as well as the Intikhab Newspaper 6 may 1999. P. 8 .
26 . Ibid . P . 53 . as well as the Intikhab Newspaper . P. 8 .
27 . Moris de Roge . Ibid . P . 183 . For more explanation refer to the pages 1836 – 181 .
28 . God does not like a harsh voice which is cursing unless someone has suppressed him and be sure that God is the a knowledgeable listener. Trans . By : Baha Al – Din Khorram Shahi. It should be said that in many ayahs it is advised to speak calm and raising voice has been regarded as bad. The only exception is where someone has done injustice to the other and in this case it is when he has lost his sense of self – control In order for more clarification refer to Baha Al -0 Din Khoram Shahi under this ayah.
29 . Dr . Mehdi Husseinian Rad . "The Freedom boundary of the media, a long lasting clash in Iran". Sobh Emrooz Newspaper. 4 may 1999. P . 6 .
30 . Sahifeh Noor . Vol 13 . P . 286 – 287 . 19 / 1 / 1981 .
31 . Examples of Causing disorder in the principle of Islam in the laws of the newspapers and the press are: 1. The publication of the blasphemous materials and the materials that are in contrast to the Islamic principles and the propagation of the materials that might cause damage to the Islamic Republic of Iran . 2 . Disdaining Islam and the sacred values there 3 . Insulting the supreme leader and the religious sources 4 . Promoting and propagating deviation and what is said to avoid as well as publishing pictures that are in contract to the common sense 5 . Promoting and propagating squander. In addition the examples of causing disorder to the public rights are: 1 . Lying about the authorities, organizations, institutions and any of the authorities of the country; 2 . Insulting people and organizations the respect of whom should be preserved; 3 . encouraging people and groups to do works that are in contrast with the national immunity and the advantages of the Islamic republic of Iran both in the country and out of the country. 4 . Divulging and revealing the private documents and orders 5 . Publishing the non – aboveboard negotiations of the parliament 6 . Publication of the secret negotiation and non – aboveboard researches of the court without lawful permission; 7 . creating discrepancy and disorder between different groups of the country especially through racial and tribal issues. 8 . plagiarism and quoting materials from the newspapers and the parties as well as aberrant groups and the groups that are in contrast with Islam in a way that this might be their promotion. The Press Crimes that are mentioned in law are as follow: 1 . Insulting and blaming as well as defamation of the people . 2 . Insulting Islam and religious beliefs 3 . insulting the supreme leader , leadership council or the religious sources. 4 . divulging secrets 5 . threat 6 . Promoting and propagating deviation and what is said to avoid as well as publishing pictures that are in contract to the common sense 7 . encouraging people and groups to do works that are in contrast with the national immunity and the advantages of the Islamic republic of Iran both in the country and out of the country. 8 .publishing newspaper without permission 9 . Imitation of another's name or sign ; quoting from Mohammad Ibrahim Ansari Lari . Ibid . P . 171 , 172 and 173 as well as 178 .
32 . Sahifeh Noor . Vol . 7 . P . 8 june 1979 . and vol . 6 P . 271 .
33 . Ibid . Vol . 7 . P . 19 .
34 . Ibid . Vol . 5 . P . 130 .
35 . Ibid . Vol . 8 . P . 284 , 285 . 28 , August , 1979 .
36 . Ibid . Vol . 8 . P . 221 . 30 July 1979 .
37 . Ibid . P . 19 .
38 . Ibid . Vol . 13 . P . 252 . 5 January , 1981 .
39 . Ibid . Vol . 8 . P . 267 . 24 August 1979 .
40 . Ibid . Vol . 10 . P . 234 . 26 November 1979 .
41 . This perspective can studied in the following source: The Book of the 6th Festival of the Press; The General office for propagation in the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance ( Tehran , First Ed . 1378 ) . P . 54 and the Intekheb Newspaper of Thursday 6 may 1999. . P . 8 . This model considers the situation before the Islamic revolution of Iran that of the authoritative model and believes that in the beginning years of the Revolution it was the freedom model that was dominant. The followers of this model believe that after this stage and based on the social condition the country enters the authoritative model. This model believes that we have had the social responsibility model. 42 . The first mass media and press law in the Islamic Republic of Iran was approved by the council of the Islamic Revolution council of Iran in 11 August 1979 i .e . six months after the victory of the Islamic Revolution. At the time that this law was passed still Iran had not still the constitutional law. Therefore this law was not based on a special law of the constitutional law and it was just merely an answer to the disorder of the press at those times and it was a way to supervise the publications and printing of different and various press that were publishing and printing all over the country without any restrictions and personal criteria. Quoted by Mohammad Ibrahim Ansari , Ibid . p . 118 and 119 . 43 . for more interpretation look at the interview of the Sobh – e – Emrooz with Mohammad Reza Kashi. "Political Legitimacy in Contemporary Iran " Monday 25th of October 1999 . No . 247 . P . 6 . Hozoor Magazine . No . 34 .

Sharif Lakzaei

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