Iran: Paper banned after reporting on Covid-19 death toll

Iranian censors have shut down Jahan Sanaat newspaper after it reported the comments of a health professional about the real number of Coronavirus deaths in the country. The IFJ joined the Teheran Association of Journalists (TAoJ) in condemning the ban and called for its immediate lifting.

Iranian women, wearing protective masks due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Credits: ATTA KENARE / AFP

Iran’s Press Supervisory Board* acted after the paper – which has covered mainly economic issues for 17 years - reported comments by a well-known health professional that the number of deaths was up to 20 times the official figure.

Management at the paper were informed of the ban in a telephone call.

In a statement the TAoJ said the action was unlawful. “We believe that this action took place at a time when the journalistic profession is in its most unstable days, and now we must witness the escalation of this crisis, with the unemployment of a number of our colleagues in this newspaper".

IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger said: “At a time of a global health crisis it is vital citizens have access to independent information on which they can act and base decisions. Jahan Sanaat reported valid comments by a well-known health expert. Such a ban is an outrageous response and should be lifted immediately”.

*The Press Supervisory Board is a governmental body which decides who can own or run print media and issues licences for it and at times withdraws the right to print, banning the media from working.

For further information contact IFJ Middle East & Arab World on +32 (0) 2 235 22 11

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries

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