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