Editors and Editorial Writing

In the context of Iranian journalism, the author suggests, editorial articles and editorial writers have traditionally had more significance than what is assigned to them in the West. In a sense, many a journal has been published in Iran for the sole purpose of disseminating the ideas contained in their editorials. Indeed, one may point to a number of journals, particularly in certain periods of Iran's contemporary history, whose prestige was derived essentially, if not solely, from the popularity of their editorial writers. In an attempt to prove the point, the author quotes extensively form the editorials of a number of renowned Iranian writers. In the early stages of Iranian Journalism at the turn of century and particularly during the period of Iran's Constitutional Movement, a number of emerging social themes and political ideas were defined, explained and propagated in the editorials of various journals including those published abroad by Iranian intellectuals and dissidents. According to the author, it was particularly following the victory of the Constitutionalists that a large number of Iranian poets and writers expounded their ideas in the form of editorials in the most popular journals of the period. Thus, the editorial page of most journals became the main battleground for the opposing schools of thought, particularly the traditionalist and the modernists.

In analyzing the style and content of the editorials in various periods of Iran's contemporary history, the author points to their unusual length--at times occupying more than a page--and their fiery and rhetorical tone in the period immediately following the victory of the Constitutional Movement. In the decade following the Second Wold War, which is generally known as the period in which the Iranian press enjoyed a high degree of freedom, editorials were again mostly marked by their extremely partisan tones and vituperative and aggressive styles. In the periods of extended press censorship and government control, however, the tone and style of editorial writing underwent considerable change towards blandness and conformity to the tolerable, and often government-designed norms of political, cultural and social expression.

The author concludes his article by offering extensive excerpts from the editorials of five of the most famous of the Iranian journalists in the 1941-57 period: Ali Asghar Amirani (Khandaniha), Hasan Arsanjani (Daryia), Lotfollah Taraghi (Taraghi), Abbas Khalili (Eqdam), Abdolrahman Faramarzi (Kayhan), and Rahmat Mostafavi (Roshanfekr). He also compares and contrasts the background, political orientation and writing style of each of the quoted editorialists.

Ahmad Ahrar
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