The Islamic Republic News Agency (Persian: ???????? ?????? ?????? ??????), 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 2010[update], the Managing Director of IRNA is Mohammad Khodaddi. IRNA has 60 offices in Iran and 30 more in various countries around the world.
In 1934, Pars Agency was established by the Foreign Ministry of Iran (Persia) 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 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 Department 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.
In 1954, following a coup the reforms of the White Revolution helped to modernize the Pars Agency, leading to expanded news coverage, improved professional services and a better-educated staff. It went on air with radio broadcasts of international news translated into Persian, which it offered to local subscribers. Under the new regime, 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 activities of Pars Agency were brought under the newly created Information Ministry. Its name was changed to Pars News Agency, or PANA, and it began operating around the clock. In July 1975 the Iranian legislature passed a bill establishing the Ministry of Information and Tourism and changing the status of Pars News Agency to a joint public stock with capital assets of 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). The same year Pars News Agency was renamed as the 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. To effectively carry out its responsibilities it has set up the following guidelines:
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’s editorial board is made up of eight main news desks:
IRNA has divided its activities into four news regions around the world manned by four head offices:
IRNA cooperates with leading international and regional news agencies. This cooperation at the professional level started decades ago. IRNA’s cooperation with regional and international agencies takes any of the following forms:
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:
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:
IRNA is one of the first to join the Internet in Iran. It joined the web on 16 December 1996, starting at the speed of 19,200 kbit/s. On 23 March 1997, IRNA opened its own website, which reached the speed 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 bandwidth of its satellite band up to 2MEG/2MEG to meet the ever-increasing demand for this medium. 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 on 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 archive 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 archive 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.[clarification needed]
IRNA currently publishes seven dailies and periodicals. Among these periodicals is the Persian-language Iran newspaper, which is vastly popular among middle class Iranians.
After conducting a series of research work on the country’s need for a high-level academic institution to 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: