IRAN: Anti-Ahmadinejad newspaper banned

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One of Iran’s most popular liberal weekly newspapers was shut down today amid a continuing crackdown on media critical of the government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Iran’s semi-official Fars News Agency says that Shahrvand-e-Emrouz, or Today’s Citizen weekly, has been banned by the government press monitoring association for ‘publishing untrue news about the government of Ahmadinejad.’


Farid Modarresi, a staff writer at the weekly who covers the religion beat, spoke about the shuttering to the Los Angeles Times today:

‘We were expecting such a banning. Our weekly’s license did not allow to cover politcal news, and although we were cautious and only addressed the history of the revolution and Iran and some news were published in other sources too. The press supervisory association claims that we have published some ‘untrue’ news about the government. I do not remember any untrue news. ... I think our weekly has been scapegoat and has been punished for mildly criticizing the government over the phony degree of Ali Kordan.’

Modarresi said he expected the last issue of the newspaper to be on newstands Saturday, and the paper’s bosses will try to lobby officials behind the scenes to keep the weekly open, but he was skeptical. ‘There is no light at the end of tunnel,’ he said.

The paper was considered a moderate pro-reform publication popular among intellectuals, who often criticized it for being too restrained.

The weeklys circulation had reached 50,000, considered extremely high for a weekly newspaper and respectable even for a daily. ‘Our weekly was getting along well and marginally profitable due to reasonable advertisement,’ Modarresi said. ‘Now all that achievement is down the drain.’

-- Ramin Mostaghim in Tehran

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