Three newspapers shut down in Iran

New York, October 6, 2009—The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the Iranian authorities’ decisions to revoke the licenses of three reformist newspapers on Sunday and Monday. 

The Press Supervisory Board revoked the licenses of the Tehran-based dailies Farhang-e Aashti and Arman on Sunday, according to local and international news reports. On Monday, the same state agency’s offices in Fars province also rescinded the license of the Shiraz-based daily Tahleel-e Rooz newspaper, local press reported.

“Iranian authorities have resorted to virtually every measure to suppress critical voices since the country held its presidential elections on June 12,” said CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Mohamed Abdel Dayem. “The shuttering of these three newspapers is just another step in a long string of actions by the authorities meant to silence critical journalists and media.”

The BBC Persian service reported that the Association for the Supervision of Publications in Iran revoked the license of Farhang-e Aashti, saying the paper has “received money from foreigners.” It is not clear why the other newspapers have been shut down.

Since June 12, CPJ has documented several cases in which Iranian authorities have censored newspapers.

Following the disputed presidential elections, Iranian authorities instituted vast measures to suppress critical voices. Authorities interrupted communications, censored the media, blocked Web sites and expelled foreign journalists, CPJ research shows. The government agencies arrested thousands of protesters, among them journalists. Dozens of journalists still remain in Iranian prisons: In ongoing sweeps since June 12, authorities have detained at least 70, some of whom have since been released. At least 29 journalists remain in custody, according to CPJ research.