Iranian government bans critical media

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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Iranian government closed a newspaper and magazine critical of the government on Monday, citing that they went beyond "the limits of the press" and were "not committed to the constitution," respectively.

Cquote1.svg [It] was a bitter decision for us but it was done due to repeated breaking of the law Cquote2.svg

—Iranian official on the closure of opposition media

The daily newspaper Etemaad, which is the largest-circulation reformist paper, was banned by the Press Supervisory Board, a media watchdog controlled by the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance.

According to the ruling, the newspaper was in violation of a part of Iran's press code that bars media from, among other things, insulting officials, mentioning ethnic differences, and speaking critically of Islamic sanctities. Despite the ban, an official from the board said the decision was "taken with a degree of leniency" in that the paper had not had its publishing license revoked, unlike the closed magazine, IranDokht. The board said that the ban was temporary, but according to the Iranian Students News Agency, such "temporary" bans have in the past become indefinite in nature.

The weekly magazine IranDokht was also closed, and had its publishing licence revoked. The magazine's leadership is composed of several prominent opposition leaders. The license of the magazine is held by the wife of Mehdi Karroubi, and the managing director is Karroubi's son, Hossein Karroubi. Hossein Karroubi said that the magazine had been targeted because of his father's political differences with the ruling party, and that the government had contacted the magazine, criticizing its political stance.


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