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Iran: Media System

Marcus Michaelsen


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The Islamic Republic of Iran (population approx. 73 million; adult literacy rate 84 percent) was established as a result of Iran's revolution in 1979. The political system blends republican elements (i.e., regular parliamentary and presidential elections) with the idea of the “government of the Islamic jurist” ( velayat-e faqih ), developed during the 1960s and 1970s by Ayatollah Khomeini, the leader of the revolution and the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Most political power thus lies in the hands of a Shiite cleric, the “Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution” ( rahbar-e moazam-e enqelab-e eslami ). The history of Iran's press is determined by successive phases of authoritarian rule and rare episodes of political liberalization. The first → newspaper was published in 1837 under the Qajar dynasty. At the advent of the Constitutional Revolution in 1906, exile and clandestine periodicals gained considerable importance for the dissemination of modern political ideas. The subsequent years witnessed a flourishing of publications that ended when Reza Shah took power in 1925. The central state authority weakened again in 1942–1953, providing room for a dynamic and politicized press. The reinstated monarchy of Mohammad Reza Shah subjected the press once more to limitations. Radio was introduced in 1940 by the government following experimentations with wireless transmissions ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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