The Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA) is an Iranian state-run media outlet that was originally set up in 1999 to provide news from Iran’s universities. Since then it has grown into a major source of news content.
News agency: ISNA
State Media Matrix Typology: Independent State-Funded (ISF)
Ownership and governance
ISNA is run by university students, many of whom are editors and writers of the content published by the agency. The agency operates like all media in Iran, with a license from the government.
Source of funding and budget
There is no publicly available information about ISNA’s budget. Local experts say that the agency can operate only thanks to an annual state subsidy that accounts for the bulk of its budget. The agency also accesses funding from a domestic student NGO.
Although it has to tread carefully not to draw the ire of the Iranian regime, ISNA is considered by Western media to be one of the most moderate media outlets in Iran. It manages to maintain its editorial independence. Although it is loyal to the former president Khatami, the agency is generally free in its editorial coverage. In fact, the agency has been attacked by the government in recent years, the most publicized case being the conviction of the agency’s head over an interview that criticized the operations of the Iranian intelligence services abroad.
No domestic statute or independent assessment mechanism to validate ISNA’s editorial independence have been identified.