Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Political uncertainties unleash Iranian government's offense against the news media

Recent crackdowns on Iranian newspapers critical of the current administration and its policies suggest that the government considers unconditional espousal of its policies to be an official duty of the media. As reported by "Farhang-i Ashti", presidential press adviser Ali AkbarJavanfekr describes venerable media as those who "consider themselves the supporters and defenders of the serving government and voice support for its policies and strategies." News agencies affiliated with the reformist movement are deemed by the regime as conspiratorial and subversive. "The nature and essence of these media are based on the objective of sabotaging the government," Javanfekr said. The adminstration has even prompted to ensure cooperation by advising publications on what materials can be discussed. Even the sources that publications can use in their reporting are restricted. According to a report by "Radio Farda", the government is also apt to intervene in publications regarding its dubious policies in dealing with students and political activists.
Several publications have been shut down in recent months for failing to comply with strict government regulations on the way the news media carries out its reporting. In August, Issa Saharkhiz, managing editor of the monthly "Aftab", was found guilty of publishing anti-constitutional articles and spreading propaganda against the Islamic regime. He was sentenced to four year in prison and banned from press-related activities for five years.
In light of the nuclear negotiations between Iran and the West, the current government offensive against open media, indicates efforts to rally support by controlling the way people perceive this delicate situation.
Managing all information about the December elections for members of the Assembly of experts and municipal councils, the government seeks to maintain power within its own ideological alliance and avert any criticism of the current administration.

For full article see RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 10, No. 179, Part III, 27 September 2006, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty


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