In his keynote in the fourth meeting of the Assembly of Experts held on the 2nd of Jamadi the First, in Tehran, Imam Ali al-Khameini tackled the advancement of today’s media as he said: “Today, the most effective and qualified means of communication are media. Newspapers, Radios and TVs have become more effective than books. Newspapers publish what they want; while Radios and TVs make good use of air waves to broadcast whatever they desire, too.”
To media owners, air waves are less rated or charged than books; to mass, they are easily available; whereas to the elite, obstacles in the progress of reading trends. Radios could be listened to during driving or used as a background noise even at work; while reading requires being performed alone with great concentration and in a convenient environment. Thus, all of this has led people to be more attracted to audio-visual media than books. Other obstacles are presented as well due to the lack in the quantity of libraries that can cover the needs of the entire public in the time that books are increasingly becoming unaffordable.
Imam Ali al-Khameini states that media should serve in spreading the correct Islamic thought as well as in raising and reforming the ethical, social and intellectual public awareness in a society. He believes that the desired goals of media could be accomplished through tackling moral issues in films, for example; for through which indirect messages could be skillfully embedded in order to be easily absorbed.
“People working in media industry should be involved in directing media to be able to make the reform of the general intellectual frame in society. Together, media and institutions, specialized in spreading Islam religion, should work in parallel to accomplish such a goal. Film productions should be made to serve the general Islamic intellectual reforms. Radios and TVs should always work on the favor of the public culture.”1
Media industry is the spot of concern of investors who are abusing it through rendering it to be serving their corrupted and low standard desires and aims. On the top of these investing world powers, USA and ‘Zionism’ lie monopolizing and running many of world media, and, as a result, misleading humanity with fabricated facts, sending their own indirect and embedded messages, and attacking their opponent countries that may affect their world dominance. Imam Ali al-Khameini, May Allah reserve him, tries to ring alarms for the malicious roles played by these powers in our countries and societies as he sheds the light on three of these powers’ tactics.
World powers work on creating doubts as they keep reversing facts or inventing deceptive arguments around points of strength found in Islamic ruling systems; that is why they are attacking the very concept of the top- jurist guardianship [known as al-Walie al-Faqih], and other officials questioning their seriousness in serving their community, in addition to that, they also target key uniting issues that would help in getting the whole Islamic nation united.
“Dear, you should be aware that among the first things that world powers’ media work on against other countries are creating doubts about the credibility of the centers that are really truthful and transparent, along with the local media that say the truth, and the official personalities who are faithful and religiously committed; in addition to that, they work on fabricating accusations, turning facts just upside down, deviating rational thinking, and creating hesitations among the public.”2
One of the world powers’ ways in reversing facts is their adoption of double standard tactic against various democratic systems. To them, capital punishment in one of their allying countries is a ‘merit’ no matter if it is being based on weak and silly reasons- however in any other anti-US elsewhere as the same punishment is claimed to be ‘human rights breach’ despite whether it is being legally justified; in the meantime that massacres committed against victims as are claimed to be labeled as ‘self-defense’; to these powers, a nuclear armed existence imposing itself aggressively on other nation’s territories is conversely considered as ‘oppressed’; on the other hand, nations that are attempting to catch and snatch portions of their rights even through throwing a stone [as a type of resistance] as “top-terrorists”.
“According to US and Zionist media, executing a number of Iranians who had been caught while smuggling heroin is ‘human rights-breach’; while kidnapping citizens, shooting displaced people, and bombarding their villages have nothing to do with human rights!”3
Western media always work on polluting the cultures of other countries; this tactic is extremely dangerous, for it may lead some native people to sacrifice their culture on the behalf of the others’- and once such a sacrifice takes place, the entire nation is said to be losing its upgrading position among powerful countries. Western media intentionally host speakers talking day and night weaving doubts and question marks around religious and social issues, which, in fact, go on with human nature, traditions and preservative principles in general; and ascribing [this set of beliefs and traditions] as being ‘retarded’. On the other hand, they keep fabricating images presenting their countries with great perfectness, which is beyond reality, in order to derive youths’ attention from any Islamic model that truly helps in providing human happiness.
“Most of the political and informational noise created by western media aims at disturbing the atmosphere in our countries, and generating cultural pollution; they think that, by doing so, they would hide the real circumstances that have led to the occurring events or would make all of current and domestic needs be forgotten; in sum, they would like to make people mentally busy.”4
Media, Religious Message Complementarily
No matter how effective the role of media in providing guidance and consultation, yet this role can never be as effective as that of the divine spirit and presence of a religious scholar speaking in a mosque before the whole physical and spiritual presence of his audience. In this sense, Imam Ali al-Khameini points out to two correlated points:
Media, Religious Oratory Necessity
“None of the creative informing styles of media is capable of replacing the act of religious oratory. Moreover, neither media nor religious oratory may suffice the role of the other. Media, in particular, is not able to suffice any of religious oratory’s methods or styles.”5
In the era of media, neither religious oratory is sufficiently able to perform its complete role in founding the religious fundamentals of the entire society and consequently building it; nor are media minimally (without the help of religious scholars or mosques) able to perform a complete task. Actually, together, they structure a harmonious relation. Imam Ali al-Khameini says:
“Religious oratory is still greatly effective as it has always been. No one should imagine that the presence of Radios, TVs, or any other modern media could replace the role of the platform of religious communication, or say that religious speeches’ old methods have become unacceptable today. Human words in direct public speaking leave their impact upon listeners especially while tackling a suitable topic- this influence has a different taste from media styles since it’s divinely blessed; this style of face-to-face talking has its immense importance!”6
Religious Coaching to Develop Media
Religious oratory may direct the strategic trends of media; thus it could be said that it actually plays a supporting and guiding role in a way that both of them (media and religious oratory) may benefit from each other. Media may benefit in particular from speeches delivered in especial Islamic anniversaries. Imam Ali al-Khameini says:
“Let one of the goals set for religious schooling and coaching be improving Islamic media in order to enable them to guide people.”7
Freedom of Media
Freedom of media has always been controversial. However, western media usually finds this slogan useful when it desires to attack Islamic countries and accuse them claiming that these countries are ‘tightening’ their local press freedom. Imam Ali al-Khameini says:
“Press may raise awareness on public responsibility; it may also ring alarms reminding officials about their great tasks; otherwise, and due to keeping the both sides’ duties unexposed, press may turn to be misleading both sides and thus creating and stirring ambiguity, chaos, division, and tension.”8
As defined by Imam al-Khameini, freedom of media helps in harmonizing the civilized building and forming of a country, the issue that helps media be working on supplying both the officials along with the public with information and views that aim at shedding light at wrongness and correcting the overall situation. However, being given this portion of freedom does not indicate that media are to be free in abusing this right in creating corruption, insulting holy places and figures, or degrading people’s dignity. Actually, there’s big difference between these two kinds of freedom. He says:
“The task of press is in itself an ultimate goal that requires accomplishing means, which is freedom. Freedom must be the means of press as it is performing its task. Thus, press must never become a victim of an absolute or unchained freedom.”9
Western media’s claimed ‘Freedom’
Western media boast of by their illusionary slogans, including ‘freedom of press’, to the extent that they dare insult Prophet Muhammad, May Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him and his Household; while they flip earth upside down if doubts raised questioning the very existence of the claimed ‘Nazi’s holocaust’. Imam Ali al-Khameini says:
“According to the standard called ‘ freedom of press’, designed by western media, none is supposed to express denies or doubts on the legendary of ‘Jews holocaust’; however, this same standard allows them to insult the holy places and figures of more than one and a half milliard Muslims.”10
Imam al-Khameini speaks more about western media’s and tyrants’ mentality, which is biased to Jews, through presenting a personal incident that took place during the beginning of the Islamic Revolution in Iran:
“One of Imam Ruhu Allah al-Mousawi al-Khomeini’s press releases had been sent to U.S. media, but none showed readiness to publish it although great deal of money was to be paid if published. Yet, all U.S. media boldly refused publishing it. Actually that’s their claimed ‘freedom’!”11
* Book: Media, "chapter 1". Edited by: Nūn for translation and writing center. Published: June 2010. www.almaaref.org
1- Al-Zaman newspaper, issued on Safar 11, 1416 Hegira.
2- Speaking in the anniversary of the birthday of Imam al-Hussein, Peace be upon him, the Day of Islamic Revolution Guards and the Day of Mobilization (al-Ta’bia’).
3- Speaking during Hajj in 1419 Hegira as quoted by al-Zaman newspaper, issued on Thu al-Hojjah, 1, 1419 Hegira.
4- Speaking in a meeting with the leaders and members of the Iranian army air forces.
5- Speaking in the beginning of the academic year of the Islamic Scientific School [Al-Hawaza al-‘Ilmiyah]Quoted by al-Zaman newspaper, issued in Rabie’ al-Awwal, 1413 Hegira.
6- Addressing media professionals, quoted by al-Zaman newspaper, issued on tho-al-Hijjah 3, 1414.
7- Same event footnoted 6.
8- Speaking in a meeting with the leaders and members of the Iranian Army Air Forces.
9- Same event footnoted 6.
10- Speaking in the event of appointing Ali Larijani the presidency of the Radio-TV Foundation.
11- Same event footnoted 10.