Iran: More newspapers closed

New York, August 9, 2002-The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) condemns yesterday’s court–ordered closure of two Iranian newspapers. This latest ruling brings to 52 the total number of publications that authorities have banned in Iran since April 2000.

Tehran’s conservative Press Court yesterday banned the newly launched daily Ayineh-e-Jonoub (formerly a weekly), citing more than a dozen unspecified complaints.

In addition, Press Court judge Said Mortazavi cited a recent Appeal Court ruling that convicted the paper’s publisher, reformist member of Parliament Mohammed Dadfar, of anti-regime “propaganda” as another reason for the ban.

In a separate incident yesterday, the Press Court barred publication of the new daily Rouz-e-No, which was slated to hit newsstands next week, saying that the paper was a continuation of the recently banned Norooz. Last month, the court slapped Norooz with a six—month suspension.

“With each newspaper banned, Iran’s judiciary reaffirms its utter disregard for press freedom,” said CPJ Executive Director Ann Cooper. “This harassment is unacceptable and must stop.”