Imam Khamenei

What is Imam Khamenei's opinion about freedom of the press?

What are the duties of the press?

The duties of the press include reviewing and monitoring, providing honest and transparent information, and conveying and exchanging the opinions and thoughts that exist in society. I believe that freedom of the press and expression is the inalienable right of the people and the press. I have no doubt about this, and this is one of the basic principles of the constitution. I believe that if a society loses its free, developed press and free, aware writers, it will lose many other things as well. The existence of a free press is one of the signs of the growth of a nation, and indeed it is a source of growth. That is, on the one hand, the growth and freedom of a nation create a free press. On the other hand, it in turn can increase the growth of a nation. Of course, I believe that in addition to this value, there are other values and truths that should not be violated by the freedom of the press and the freedom of writers. The best thing is to maintain freedom, to understand the truth, to have a free press, and at the same time not to suffer any potential damages. This is what should be done. February 27, 2001


Making logical criticism is the right of the press

Of course, making rational criticism, communicating the truth - there are so many obvious things that if one mentions them, it is not gossiping at all, so one can criticize. Yes, this is obvious. There is a correct and right movement in our society today, and there are false currents that want to destroy the society by any means and to divert the revolution. There is no doubt about that. There are people leading these movements. There is no need to spread slander about these people or gossip about them. They have said so many things openly. If these statements are reported, explained, and elucidated, the matter will become clear. December 28, 2010


Criticism should be distinguished from illogical faultfinding

Criticism, demanding reforms and following up the people's demands is a good thing, but unreasonable criticisms, magnifying issues, unfounded accusations, slander and spreading rumor are bad: this is necessary to distinguish between these two things. In my opinion, this is one of the issues which were neglected in the past and now we should ask for divine forgiveness and prevent this negligence from perpetuating. Oct 30, 2005


Avoid publishing incorrect information

If your attention wanders, if you are not careful about your situation, it does not mean that your enemy's attention wanders too. He may be careful and he may strike. Therefore, we should pay careful attention. This is why I have been strongly recommending and stressing that both the officials and the people should not make themselves busy with trivial issues. This is why I have been constantly recommending that the press, the media, newspapers and websites - which have become popular today - should avoid instilling wrong ideas into the minds of the people because these ideas preoccupy them. Jan 9, 2013


Avoid spreading suspicion in society

We should attend to our moral behavior as well. Behavior is even more important than action. We should create an environment of brotherhood, kindness and optimism in society. I do not at all agree with creating an environment of pessimism and doubt in society. We should break ourselves of these habits.

The fact that it has become common among newspapers and different media networks - which increase in number and become more complex on a daily basis - to adopt certain methods to make accusations against one another is not a good thing at all. This is not a good thing because it darkens our hearts and the environment in which we live. If the sinful are punished for their sins, this does not rule out the possibility that the environment in society can be one for promoting sins, slandering and accusing other people on the basis of rumors and delusions. Sep 20, 2009


Freedom of speech in the US

All media outlets should take heed of red lines that are not allowed to be crossed, by anyone. Not that we wouldn't allow them [to be crossed], everywhere in the world there are red lines which must be respected. This is also observed in the, so-called, democratic counties. Look at the United States when there was a Leftist current—not anymore now--under what conditions did American Leftists, including Communist or socialist groups, and their communities live!? Read some of the literature written by leftist authors--books by Howard Fast--some of which have been translated into Farsi. I have read them—and see what shocking facts are brought about--depicting conditions under which Leftists lived in the US.
Read the famous novel The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck or his other works—which I cannot recall, right now. Analyze what he has written about the conditions, under which the 'Lefties' lived in, and how heads from the so-called 'center of democracy' treated them. Read it, in order to realize that the 'center of democracy', the idol for those who pursue such a deplorable style of writing in Iran, could not even tolerate the Lefties, because they believed that Marxism would question the capitalist system in the United States. May 02, 1996


The limits of freedom in the West

In the West, the limits of freedom are defined based on material interests. First, limits are set on social and individual liberties; this is one of them. They restrict freedom when material interests are at stake. These are material interests, such as the grandeur and scientific dominance of these countries. Education is one of the areas where freedom is a definite human right. Human beings have the right to receive education, but this "freedom" is limited in the large universities in the Western world! High technology is not available to all! The transfer of technology to certain countries is prohibited! Why? Because if this knowledge and this science is transferred, they will no longer have a monopoly over this strength, and their material power and domination will not be the same. So, freedom becomes limited. For example, the professor doesn’t have the right to teach a given scientific secret to a student from a third world country - an Iranian student or a Chinese researcher!

Freedom to transfer information and news is the same. Today, controversy in the world is over freedom of information and news. ‘Let the people know, let the people become aware,’ is one of the slogans used for promoting freedom in the West. Nevertheless, at the time when the US invaded Iraq - during Bush's presidency - all information was officially censored for a week or more. They were even proud to say that no journalist had the right to post a photo or news of the US invasion of Iraq! Everyone knew that the attack had taken place. The Americans themselves had announced it. But no one knew the details, since they claimed that it would endanger military security! Thus, military security - a material border and wall - restricted the right to freedom. September 3, 1998





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