Guidance on Bahá’í newsletters

“The News Letter which you have lately initiated fulfills a very vital function and has been started admirably well. I would urge you to enlarge its scope, as much as your resources permit, that in time it may devote a special section to every phase of your activities, administrative, devotional, humanitarian, financial, educational and otherwise. That it may attain its object it must combine the essential qualities of accuracy, reliability, thoroughness, dignity and wisdom. It should become a great factor in promoting understanding, providing information on Bahá’í activity, both local and foreign, in stimulating interest, in combating evil influences, and in upholding and safeguarding the institutions of the Cause. It should be made as representative as possible, should be replete with news, up-to-date in its information, and should arouse the keenest interest among believers and admirers alike in every corner of the globe.”  (Shoghi Effendi, Bahá’í Administration, p. 82, from a letter dated 29 January, 1925)

“May your cherished and promising Journal eloquently recount the tale of your deeds; acquaint your fellow-labourers in distant fields with your hopes, your plans, and your achievements; reflect the spirit of your selfless endeavours, and stand as witness of the growing vitality of the noble work you are destined to achieve.” (Shoghi Effendi, From a letter dated 7 February 1925)

“It is clear from the writings of our beloved Guardian that the initiation, regular publication and distribution of a Bahá’í News Letter by each National Spiritual Assembly is one of its vital functions and a means of promoting understanding and unity among the friends, of stimulating their interest and deepening their knowledge of the teachings, and of coordinating the activities of the Faith.” (Universal House of Justice to all National Spiritual Assemblies, 24 August, 1972)

A special committee should be appointed, on which members of the National Spiritual Assembly could well serve, with the task of making the national newsletter a powerful instrument of direct and regular contact with the friends, which will disseminate news among them, stimulate and maintain their interest in the growth of the Faith in the world and throughout the area of national jurisdiction, share with them the National Spiritual Assembly’s plans, hopes and aspirations, convey to them its comments on Bahá’í developments of special significance, and cause the believers to anticipate the future with feelings of excitement and confidence. The doors of communication between the friends, the Local Spiritual Assemblies and the National Spiritual Assembly should always be open. The one means which will contribute most to the promotion of this open-door policy is the regular issue of an interesting and heartwarming newsletter. In certain countries, we are glad to see, there are in addition to the national newsletter, news bulletins issued on regional or district levels. The importance of these secondary organs of Bahá’í communication acquires added weight in areas where differences of language make the issue of bulletins in a local language of each area highly desirable, if not essential. (Universal House of Justice, to all National Spiritual Assemblies, 25 May 1975)

“In answer to your query concerning the policy of keeping ‘Bahá’í News’ for Bahá’ís only, the House of Justice instructs us to explain that the circulation of Bahá’í newsletters is restricted to Bahá’ís because they are vehicles of news that is primarily of internal interest to the friends and the Assembly should be able to write freely to the believers without having to so word the information that it would be easily understandable to a non-Bahá’í reader. In other words, a Bahá’í newsletter is not secret but is an internal journal intended for an informed readership.”

(From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to the National Spiritual Assembly of Mexico, 19 December, 1982)