IFJ Condemns Closure of Newspapers in Iran


International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today accused Iranian authorities of seeking to wipe out

independent media following a ban on three reformist newspapers, including the country's

biggest circulation paper, the Etemaad which authorities alleged has breached media laws.


closures play to a Government agenda that is more about stifling of independent

voices and free reporting than about compliance with the law," said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. "It is further proof

that media continue to be primary victims of a crackdown by government to avoid

hard truths and public exposure over the regime's political troubles."

Media reports say

Iranian authorities suspended Etemaad newspaper on Monday 1 March,

citing alleged breaches without giving details. Two other newspapers, Iran Dokht and Sina were also banned. Iran Dokht's managing director, Hossein

Karroubi, son of Mehdi Karroubi - an Iranian

opposition leader - is reported as saying that the ban was politically

motivated. The authorities say that Sina newspaper, a provincial weekly, is not operating in line with the constitution,

according to media sources.

The IFJ has

called for global pressure on Iran over its violations of press freedom, saying

the latest closures add to the list of an estimated seven newspapers which have

been shut down following the controversial presidential elections in 2009 June and

the ensuing widespread protests.

The office of the

Association of Iranian Journalists

(AoIJ), an IFJ affiliate, was also closed on 5 August 2009 on the orders of Iran's

prosecutor general. Up to 60 journalists

have been jailed during 2010 including three members of the AoIJ board. Mofidi

Badrossadat, AoIJ General Secretary, is still in detention.

"We will continue

our campaign to get our affiliate's office reopened and freedom for jailed

journalists," added White. "Attempts to intimidate and manipulate media in Iran

should not succeed."

For more information contact the IFJ at

  +32 2 235 2207

The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists

in 125 countries worldwide