Islamic Republic News Agency
The Islamic Republic News Agency , or IRNA, is the official news agency of the Islamic Republic of Iran. It is government-funded and controlled under the Iranian Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance. The agency also publishes the newspaper Iran. As of 2005, the Managing Director of IRNA is Mr. Mohammad Khademol Melleh.
The Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) was established in 1934 by the Foreign Ministry of Iran as the country's official national news outlet. For the next six years it operated under the Iranian Foreign Ministry working to disseminate national and international news. Pars Agency, as it was then known, published a bulletin twice daily in French and Persian which it circulated among government officials, international news agencies in Tehran and the local press. In May 1940, the General Tablighat DepartmentSazeman-e Tablighat-e Islami or Islamic Propaganda Organisation was founded and the agency then became an affiliate of the department. Agence France Press (AFP) was the first international news agency whose reports Pars Agency used. Gradually, the Iranian news agency expanded its sources of news stories to include those of Reuters, the Associated Press (AP) and the United Press International (UPI). An agreement with the Anatolia News Agency of Turkey further expanded the agency's news outlets to countries worldwide. The link-up also enabled it to provide classified bulletins to a limited number of high-ranking public officials.
It 1954 the Pars Agency began recruiting better-educated people thereby improving its professional services while continuing to avail of dispatches of international news agencies. It also went on air with radio broadcasts of international news which it translated into Persian and offered to subscribers locally. Expanding further in news coverage, it operated under the supervision of various state offices and ministries such as the Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Post, Telegraph and Telephones, Office of the Prime Minister and the Labor Ministry until 1947. In 1957, the General Department of Tablighat fell under the supervision of the Publications Department of Tehran Radio as an independent department. In 1963 the Information Ministry was created and activities of Pars Agency was brought under this ministry. Its name was changed to `Pars News Agency, or PANA, which then began operating around the clock. In July 1975 a bill was passed by the country's legislature which established the Ministry of Information and Tourism and changed the status of Pars News Agency to a joint public stock with capital assetsof about 300 million rials. It then became an affiliate of the new ministry. Its Articles of Association in 23 paragraphs and notes were adopted by the then National Consultative Assembly of Iran.
After the Iranian Revolution in February 1979, the Revolutionary Council (Shawra-ye-Enqelab), in June 1979, renamed the Ministry of Information and Tourism to the National Guidance Ministry (or Ministry of National Guidance). This was followed in December, 1981 by a bill passed by the Islamic Consultative Assembly (Majlis) changing the name of the country's official news agency from Pars News Agency to Islamic Republic News Agency.
IRNA's professional activities are aimed at securing Iranian national interests. Efforts of management and professional personnel of IRNA are thus focused on achieving higher ground each day in fulfillment of its stated goal. The organization functions as the "mother source of information dissemination" within the country, feeding its authorities, nationals and various publications with various types of news, bulletins, research works, opinion polls and stories of general interest through its various telex lines. It also provides channels for online foreign dispatches and photographs around the clock. IRNA's external services include those rendered to leading international news agencies in accordance with contracts signed with them, active membership in international news clubs, up-to-date news stories on the country supplied internationally through its International News Line, and an active presence in the Internet through its Persian, English and Arabic websites. For its services, IRNA is aided by a professional core of executive and administrative staff who work inside and outside the country in its various local, regional and overseas branches. It also takes full advantage of stringers around the globe and has an organizational set-up that allows all its facilities to be used inside or outside the country on contractual arrangement. In order to effectively carry out its responsibilities it has set up the following guidelines:
Mass production and dissemination of news and informative material taking into account its main objective of promoting the interests and objectives of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Promotion of the Islamic culture as far as possible and encountering the cultural onslaught of enemies of the Islamic Revolution.
Expansion of activities conducive to the acquisition and dissemination of more news items inside and outside the country.
Dissemination of news stories of the Islamic world in general.
Providing news items to Iranian newspapers and periodicals.
Laying the ground for a wholesome competition with major international news agencies and corporations.
Providing news and propaganda through as vast a network as possible.
Expansion of its propaganda dissemination network as far and wide as is possible.
Expansion and strengthening of professional level bilateral and multilateral cooperation with various countries' news agencies and active cooperation in the formation and strengthening of joint regional and international networks.
Providing news dissemination and news research assistance outside its organizational boundaries when its professional assistance is sought and when they prove to be in the country's geopolitical and national interests.
IRNA External Services
IRNA's administrative efforts are focused on an expansion of its international news branches around the globe. Branches ostensibly are given the task of producing news items or selecting from those produced by various news agencies, translating and disseminating them through its various news lines. Its management is also constantly on the look-out for possible new ways of expanding its level of news dissemination in qualitative and quantitative terms. It also seeks to expand its level of cooperation with various foreign news agencies and corporations. Personnel of IRNA branches abroad are currently in charge of monitoring their respective countries' radio, television, satellite and Internet networks to bring out news items not already found in news dispatches. The offices also organize regional news dissemination corporationswith IRNA as a member, as well as monitor and program activities of its branches.
IRNA News Desks
IRNA's editorial board is made up of eight main news desks, to wit:
Europe and America Desk
Africa and Middle East Desk
Indian Peninsula and Central Asia Desk
English News Desk: This desk is in charge of sending the most important news gathered from IRNA's various lines, as well as those items acquired through various IRNA cooperation contracts with various news agencies.
Arabic News Desk: The activities of this desk is similar with the English News Desk.
Persian Language International News Desk: Staff of this desk are assigned the task of surveying news items dispatched from various IRNA news lines in the country and selecting those which most likely interest foreign readers. These are then rewritten as new items with information that are not included as being of no general importance to Iranian readers inside the country added and those that need revision altered.
Foreign News Desk: This desk comprises three monitoring desks in charge of surveying the various foreign radio, television, satellite, Internet and printed media items and selecting the news items that IRNA is interested in. This organization works on a 24-hourbasis and records programs of 23 radio and 13 satellite stations on video or magnetic tapes.
IRNA News Regions
IRNA has divided its activities into four news regions around
the world manned by four head offices. These are:
Middle East and Africa Region - The head office is based in Beirut, Lebanon. It has branch offices in Ankara, Damascus, Abu Dhabai, Amman and Kuwait. All six offices cover news stories in the entire Middle East and Africa region.
Europe and America Region - The head office is based in London, England. It has branch offices in Bonn, Vienna, Paris, Rome, Sarajevo, Athens, Madrid, New York and Washington. All 10 offices cover news items pertaining to Europe and the North, Central and South American continents.
Asia-Pacific Region - The head office of this region is based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It has branch offices in Tokyo, Beijing, Islamabad, Alma Ata, Dushanbe and Ashkhabad. All seven offices cover news stories from Asia and the Oceania region.
Cooperation With Foreign and Regional News Agencies
IRNA cooperates with leading international and regional news agencies. This cooperation at the professional level started decades ago. IRNA cooperation with regional and international agencies take any of the following forms:
Exclusive agency contracts - Certain international news sources cooperate exclusively with IRNA in news dissemination service within Iranian territory. This implies that access to news items and pictorial telex services of other news sources is possible only through IRNA's news dissemination telex lines. News stories referred to include those of Reuters, AP, AFP, UPI and the DPA (of Germany).
Bilateral cooperation contracts - IRNA has signed contracts for the exchange of photographs and news items with a number of regional new agencies. This may be taken as an unprecedented move since before the victory of the Islamic Revolution the Pars News Agency (IRNA's name before the revolution) merely cooperated with Western news agencies. The news agencies of Qatar (QNA), Serbia (TANJUG), China (Xinhua), Japan (Kyodo), Turkey (Ikhlas), North Korea (KCNA), Saudi Arabia (SANA), Spain (EFE), Vietnam (VNA), Turkmenistan (Turkmen Press), Russia (Itar-Tass and Ria-Novesti), Morocco (MAP), Nigeria (NAM), and South Korea (YONHAP) have signed bilateral cooperation contracts regarding exchange of news and pictures with IRNA.
Contracts for sales of pictures and news items - IRNA has signed cataracts for the sale of its news photos and information to major international news agencies. These include Reuters, AP, DPA, BBC and Bloomberg as well as the Organization of Asia-Pacific News Agencies (OANA).
Membership in International News Clubs and Organizations
IRNA has spent tremendous efforts to convince news agencies of Third World countries to actively work within the framework of regional news agencies. The establishment of pools of news agencies, many of which have already gained international prestige, is thus indebted to the pioneering efforts of IRNA.
Multinational and regional news pools therefore have the right to
vote in international gatherings of news agencies and thus play the essential and critical role of safeguarding Third World interests in such venues.
IRNA is currently a member of the following news pools:
International Islamic News Agency (IINA)
Organization of Asia-Pacific News Agencies (OANA)
Non-Aligned News Agencies Pool (NANAP)
OPEC News Agency (OPECNA)
Association of Caspian Sea News Agencies (ACSNA)
ECO News Agencies (ECONA)
IRNA's Recognized Achievements Within Regional News Pools
IRNA has played an active role as a member of the newly established regional news pools mentioned above. Its varied activities in cooperation with these various organizations may be summarized as follows:
Providing vast coverage for news stories from the Islamic World as well as the Third World and Central Asian countries. IRNA has also expanded its national news dissemination ties with Islamic countries to an unprecedented level, i.e., between any Islamic country and that of other members of the Islamic world.
Active participation in professional, international news conferences, congresses and seminars, including visits to headquarters of news agencies of various countries and international news agencies by professionaldelegations.
Signing of bilateral and multilateral contracts for cooperation with news agencies of over 70 countries in the exchange of news, with special emphasis on its neighbors, Islamic countries and the Islamic Republic's political allies.
Strengthening of the foundations of the NAM Secretariat, as well as acceptance of permanent chairmanship of the NANAP.
Establishment of the Association of Caspian Sea (littoral states) News Agencies (ACSNA) and hosting its first gathering and initial chairmanship.
Active cooperation in the establishment and rotative chairmanship of the Economic Cooperation Organization's news agencies (ECONA).
Acceptance of the chairmanship of the Organization of Asia-Pacific News Agencies (OANA) until the year 2000.
IRNA Joins the Web
IRNA is one of the first to join the Internet in Iran. It joined the web on December 16, 1996, starting at the speed of 19,200 kbit/s. On March 23, 1997, IRNA opened its own website in the Net which reached the power of 512,512 kbit/s a year later. Due to interest shown on the wide range of information available in the Internet IRNA decided to offer lines for lease and dial-up
services for its clients. IRNA has also increased the width of its satellite band up to 2MEG/2MEG to meet the ever-increasing demand of this medium.
In order to provide services to all interested parties wishing to gain access to Internet information, IRNA has established an Internet cafe (Coffeenet) on the ground floor of its Tehran headquarters.
Information on the high-quality goods and services available in the Iranian market produced by leading producers and manufacturers in the various production and technical fields may now be obtained through IRNA's online IRNANET. IRNANET accepts advertisements and aims to be an effective
global marketing tool for interested subscribers. The IRNA website in the Internet has over 20,000,000 viewers all over the globe with the exact number of people who use it in each country available at any moment on the site.
IRNA has a photo archives established 40 years ago simultaneous with the birth of this news agency. It is one of the richest in Iran and relies on the expert work of its professional photographers. The photo archives now has over 3,000,000 frames in the various political, social, sports and cultural fields. Some of the best shots in its files depict the acts of bravery
of Iranians during the eight-year sacred defense.
IRNA Newspapers and Periodicals
IRNA currently publishes seven dailies and periodicals. Among these periodicals is the Persian-language Iran newspaper which is vastly popular among middle class Iranians.
Al-Vefaq is one of two Arabic-language dailies.
Iran Daily is the country's third English newspaper.
Iran Varzeshi is an Iranian daily specializing on local and foreign sports news coverage.
Iran Javan has gained unprecedented popularity among the youth.
Iran-e Saal provides a yearly report of the country's most outstanding events.
Iran Sepid, the only one of its kind in the Middle East, is published in the Braille language for visually-impaired Iranians.
Iran Azin is IRNA's monthly on interior design.
School of Media Studies (an IRNA affiliate)
After conducting a series of research work on the country's need for a high-level academic institution that would provide training in news reporting and various fields of news dissemination, and after obtaining a permit from the Ministry of Sciences, Research and Technology, IRNA established the School of Media Studies (News College). Studies in the School of Media Studies offer two sections: long-term or short-term courses.
These courses lead to a university degree major in any one of the four now offered by the college:
News reporting at the level of Bachelor of Arts (BA)
News translation (English) at BA level
Photojournalism at the level of Associate in Arts
News translation (Arabic) at the BA level
Short-term courses - Specialized training in various fields such as editing, journalism, feature writing, photojournalism and reporting as well as various computer courses may be pursued in this section.
List of Iranian news agencies