Election related cartoons dominated headlines over the past few weeks.
The last two presidential debates on June 5th and 7th brought a much needed sense of relief to an electoral population disillusioned by the first debate’s game-show format. The IRIB significantly restructured the format and content of the last two debates, following harsh criticisms from candidates and politically active Iranians who believed the ruling establishment was making a parody of the electoral process.
With the elections scheduled for this Friday, Iran’s newspapers have been rather sluggishly reporting on the elections, compared to the more vibrant and spirited coverage during 2009’s election.
ASL 19 and Iran Media Program examine responses to the first 2013 presidential debate. Broadcasted on IRIB, the first three and a half hour presidential debate took place on June 1st and was followed by an onslaught of criticism from the eight candidates, other politicians, and the media. News websites and Iranian newspapers across multiple political affiliations criticized the "offensive" nature of the debate.
This week's cartoon roundup focuses on the presidential candidates, foreign interference in the upcoming election, and the current economic and political climate.
A survey of 2,800 Iranian youths regarding their consumption of media and social media indicates that the Internet and state-run television are their primary source for news and information, followed by traditional media and personal connections. Twitter, long thought to be the catalyst of the post-election discontent in 2009, did not show up on the radar of news and information sources.
The Guardian Council’s disqualification of former president and current head of Iran’s Expediency Council Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani from the presidential race quickly became some of the biggest news of the election process. While it surprised some, over the past few weeks, the way Rafsanjani was portrayed by media agencies affiliated with the Supreme Leader can be seen as a harbinger of the Guardian Council’s decision.
With ongoing public disagreements between Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, the President has increasingly distanced himself from the Supreme Leader’s ruling faction with only a month left until the end of his term. His relentless endorsement of his Chief of Staff and relative Rahim Mashaei for the 2013 Presidency, and Mashaei’s subsequent disqualification during the Guardian Council vetting process, is evidence of this schism, as is the IRIB’s recent programming policies toward the President.
The complexities of the Iranian media ecosystem become most apparent during the election season when the heightened political climate leads to intensified scrutiny to and reliance on print media. In the absence of political parties, the press serves as a valuable tool during election campaigns, and this report highlights the shifting allegiances in national publications with a focus on politics, economics, and society. Newspapers are divided by faction (Pro-government Conservative, Traditional Conservative, Critical-of-the-Government Conservative, Affiliated with Reformists, and Reformist).
This week's cartoon roundup focuses on tension surrounding the upcoming election, failing pharmacies, and redlines of media coverage.