Undoubtedly speaking, Print Journalism gains the chief importance among the other kinds of journalism for it supplies its readers with constant influential material on daily basis. Imam Ali al-Khameini, May Allah reserve him, says:
“A daily or weekly paper or any other periodical publication that is published in a very small number of copies- say about five thousand- but it has a fixed number – no matter if it is small, too, but it is fixed- of good followers who keep reading it and get influenced by it, then it could be said that such a publication is definitely influential as it is creating a certain influence at least upon this group of people. This will consequently lead to creating a constant intellectual stream among the entire public. The creation of such a permanent stream is exactly what managers of papers should work upon if they are really thinking about their readers and about guiding them. That is why papers with massive number of good and constant followers or readers are highly significant. Comparing the scope of the targeting audience among teaching, delivering speeches on the one hand and journalism on the other hand, journalism is the best, the most significant and with the widest range of targeting audience. That means we should focus on the role of journalism as we hold high expectations for its overall role, and managers in journalism sector should bear in mind the significance and the great influence of their jobs.”1
Print Journalism Social Role
Imam Ali al-Khameini insists on not perceiving journalism as an ordinary career to making a living. To him, it is a career that helps in building up the culture of the entire society so that it should be performing this role in particular in order to deserve its reality as journalism.
“It is impossible to consider journalism in any way as a career for making a living. Its deep influence upon minds, attitudes, and morals of different categories of audience turns it to be beyond being a career simply for making a living! Its aims are in harmony with its tasks; thus in case journalism abandoned one of these aims or tasks, it would be similar to a physician abandoning his duty in treating his patients. No one can deny the necessity of earning money through practicing medical profession, for example, but a physician has to fully perform his duty first in order to earn money- in this case, vice is not versa. It is unethical for a physician to try gain financial income, social prestige, of fame in the time that he is not fulfilling his profession duties. It is even illogical to call such a person a ‘physician’ anymore. This is also applicable on the case of journalism profession. Journalism would be no more journalism if it abandoned one of its duties for which it has been found; and it could in no way hold up its incomplete existence.”2
Print Journalism Major Tasks
The main tasks of journalism could be summarized in three key points including: raising public awareness, upgrading public current level of knowledge, and creating a politicized stream. Imam Ali al-Khameini illustrates in depth.
The first task
“Journalism has to work on creating awareness among the public. That journalism is able to raise awareness among the public, spread intellectual understanding, and help in having a clear-sighted stream among the public is an undeniable necessity. Compared with any other professional people, those working in journalism field have to be great followers of various social affairs as well as with clear vision and deep knowledge in order to be able to fulfill their duties perfectly.”
The second task
“Journalism has been found merely for spreading and widening the scope of humanitarian sciences of various fields of knowledge among the public. It has to be performing in the same way class manages. A scholar class every time offers its attendees information and updates of various sciences. However, the target of journalism is the entire public including the various categories with different interests and specialization. Thus, specialized magazines have to keep raising the knowledge levels of their readers. Magazines specialized in science, economy, literature art, politics should always seek upgrading and updating their target audience with information; i.e. each has to have the spirit of a scholar class that keeps providing on daily basis and from the first day of the academic year new package of information in a well organized and planned manner. Based on this, the attendees of a religious session are supposed to be provided with information each time they attend; students of economy are supposed to acquire economical information, as well. Both journalism and academic class have one responsibility in common: delivering information to the public/ attendees. It is illogical to ask people finding another source of information. This is the core responsibility of journalism.”
The third task
“Journalism has to raise political awareness among the public. It has to get the public prevailed by the spirit of politics. It has to get the entire public deeply interested in political issues; for the more the public is politicized, the more independent it becomes, and consequently the fewer risks it encounters from its foe; however, the farthest the public is from politics, the less able either to comprehend, recognize or analyze politics, thus the higher its risks to be trapped by world news kitchens- and this is the case of many other nations now! Such a public will soon be disabled from taking a decision by itself. It will soon become no more than an executive body or passive receiver to its foe’s theories. Making the public be enabled to analyze politics, and update it with the latest political trends and currents are considered as ones of the major tasks of journalism. Print journalism has to offer its political analyses and inform the public the approaches of how to analyze politics. Presenting contradictory political analyses is acceptable; for they, in sum, will enable readers to adequately analyze and comprehend politics and current events.”
Print Journalism and Rival Analyses
Imam Ali Khamenei warns local media from already cooked news or political analyses, especially those provided by rival media [or news wires] as these sides usually deceitfully publicize for the foe’s policies; thus, according to him, it would be a big mistake if any of these imported items were accepted with favorable judgment or spread as they are; he also insists on studying these analyses along with their [stated and implied] purposes carefully and consequently filtering what is suitable among them. Imam Ali al-Khameini, May Allah reserve his presence, says:
“News wires that are affiliated to Zionist institutions spread analyses and news all around the world. Unfortunately, [some of] our local papers and magazines re-publish these analyses as they are imported. By doing so they unconsciously become a tool in the hands of those who are planning to get them widely spread; and thus they help in getting their Satan goals achieved. Our press is supposed to be filtering news and analyses mixed with false components and not to publish them unless after exposing their reality.”3
Media play a chief role in guiding, raising awareness and spreading Islamic culture and dogma among the public. This is the main concern, which Islam shows toward man in general, and from which all media tasks are derived. Imam Ali al-Khameini says:
“The broad factor that helps in reserving Muslim nations along with the correctness of their thinking is based upon the collective effort dedicated to raising awareness and paid by all of the Islamic scholars, educated men, writers, artists, as well as active and wide-awake youths.”4
Were Muslims following such wise suggestions like those presented by Imam Ali al-Khameini, they would enjoy having true, transparent and strong media different from those owned by any other opponent structures that keep fabricating lying and misleading analyses.
Finally, May Allah, the All-Hearing, lead us to keep following the principles of the guardians of Muslim affairs.
* Media. "Chapter 3". Edited by: Nūn for translation and writing center. Published: June 2010. www.almaaref.org
1- Speaking to media professionals on 3, 12, 1414 Hegira.
2- Same event footnoted 20
3- Same event footnoted 20
4- Speaking as he was performing Hajj pilgrimage, Thi al-Hojjah 7, 1413 Hegira, the Sacred Mecca