Banned books and other forms of censorship

On the banning of books, censorship and other freedom of access issues

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Iranian newspaper banned

The Press Surveillance Commission of Iran has banned the pro-reform newspaper Rouzegar (Time), which according to Reporters Without Borders, "had just increased its print run and expressed a desire to cover political issues after being reinforced by an influx of journalists from the banned daily Shargh."

RWB protested the decision as "absurd," noting:
“Not content with censuring newspapers when they are slightly critical, the Iranian government has now established prior control. Rouzegar did not have a chance to upset the regime, but it is viewed as a potential threat, especially at election time.”

The newspaper was attempting to cooperate with an Oct. 18 order from the Culture Ministry not to include political articles, but on Oct. 23 it was banned altogether. A spokesperson for the ministry said
the decision was based on article 33 of the press law, which provides for “an immediate ban on the publication of a newspaper that replaces a banned newspaper with a name, logo and format that is similar.”

However, according to RWB, "
it was clearly Rouzegar’s new editorial team, rather than its format or logo, that scared the authorities. In this case as in many others, the Press Surveillance Commission and the culture minister usurped the role of courts in controlling the media. In July 2004, the moderate dailies Vaghayeh Ettefaghieh and Jomhouriat were shut down in a similar fashion."

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