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Founding Principles

I. Fiercely Independent

We are funded by paying members. Our business model is based stewardship model, not selling your attention to advertisers. We are open to collaborating with partners from trusted entities across the Iranian diaspora. We also accept contributions from individuals and organizations that share our values and support our mission. Any such agreement will include one non-negotiable condition: complete network independence. Our goal is to nurture a non-religious, non-partisan and non-ideologic environment for all network members.

II. Antidote to the News Grind

News is mostly about what happens today but rarely about what happens every day. It covers the most sensational exceptions, leaving you uninformed about the rules. We aim to redefine what news is about, shifting the focus from the sensational to the foundational. Our collectives cover the most important developments and underlying forces that shape our world rather than speculating about the latest hype or scare. Put another way: we don’t cover the weather; we cover the climate, informing you about how the world works.

III. Fighting Stereotypes

The simplest way to make headlines is to insult a group of people and generate outrage. The flood of news coverage then leads to a second rage cycle aimed at media excess. This pattern reinforces some of our worst habits: stoking fear for commercial gain or political advantage and trading in stereotypes to trigger responses. We fight harmful simplifications and steer clear of breaking news meant to shock rather than inform. We try not to be driven by the fear of missing out, allowing us to dig deeper and fact-check more thoroughly.

IV. Empowering Plurality

Consuming a lot of news can make you feel cynical and powerless. We aim to counteract this effect by searching for common ground between different people and giving as much attention to solutions as we do to problems. We call this ‘progressive journalism,’ not to be mistaken for ‘good news’ vs ‘fake news. Progressive journalism tells pluralistic stories in a way that might get things moving in a different direction with concrete actions. We believe in journalistic activism, meant to bring about change.

V. Building Collective Intelligence

Collectively, our readers know way more than we do about most of the stories we cover. That’s why we do not simply broadcast information. When we cover something you know a lot about, we invite you to contribute your expertise and share your experience. That’s part of being a member. All members share their story ideas and research questions from the start, inviting feedback from the entire network to improve our work. We don’t see our members as mere news consumers but as knowledgeable contributors of expertise.

VI. By the People, For the People

We don’t think the media should pretend to be ‘neutral’ or ‘unbiased.’ Instead, our correspondents level with people about where they’re coming from, believing that transparency about point-of-view is better than claiming to have none. We are not on anyone’s team. We’re not the voice of a party. And we believe facts matter. But we also know facts need interpretation to have meaning. That’s why we are open about the worldview and moral convictions that inform our storytelling, and we will change our minds if the facts tell us to.

VII. Protecting Data and Privacy Standards

Most free online services let users pay by turning over their data. We minimize the data we collect about you. IDN only collects the data required by law or necessary for our platform to function correctly based on your preferences. We do not sell this information to third parties and work with our partners to safeguard our data with the most robust mechanisms possible.

VIII. Responsibility, Transparency and Accountability

We know we’re not ‘the fix’ for what’s wrong in the world, and we know there’s no one way to do it. When we make mistakes, we admit and correct them. We will also be transparent about how we spend our budget by publishing an annual financial and editorial report in addition to independent third-party audits. Together we keep learning about ourselves and better ways to serve Iranians in diaspora.

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