Iran: Media under Pressure

Iranian authorities stepped up the pressure on Iranian media last week. Ham Mihan (Compatriot), a pro reformist journal was banned on 3 July.

Iranian Labour News Agency, Ilna, that covered news about strikes and unrest in universities has also been suspended temporarily and its director resigned.

Many bloggers are talking about the growing censorship in country. Some were journalists for Ham Mihan and share their feelings.

Painful, but no surprise

Jomhour regrets [Fa] that tomorrow will be a day without Ham Mihan, a mature, tolerant, and brave journal that criticized the government’s positions. It was shut down on the order of Iranian authorities.

Hanif refers [Fa] to the continuous close-down of journals in Iran, and says we should be used to hearing this kind of news, but are still surprised to hear that Ham Mihan was banned.

Ghomaar says [Fa] if a journal in this country survives more than a year you can be surprised. A journal being banned is ordinary here. He reminds us Ilna is under pressure too. Its management got changed and probably it will be shutdown too.

Maryam Sheybani, a journalist who wrote for Ham Mihan, says [Fa] it was very, very difficult to say good bye to our journal. We published just 43 issues – but we tried too hard to be different from the others. We succeeded, and that is why were not tolerated and got shut down.

Let's sell cigarettes

Varesh says [Fa] with irony, that it is better if kiosks just sell cigarettes instead of journals. Nobody is going to punish you to make people smoke.

Sanjaghak says [Fa] did you see how they shut down a journal and the next day everything was normal. I ask myself why I study journalism? If it is for my personal interest, then OK, but I can not count on it for a career.

Mahjad has published [Fa] a photo of several banned journals. The blogger says the government wants to force some leading journalists out of the media because the Islamic Republic hates people who think, and make others to think.

What people ask me about Iran?

Internet filtering and censorship has limited Iranian access to free information. But it seems Westerners also only get a partial image of Iran in Western media. Some bloggers try to create a bridge to fill this information gap.

View from Iran says the first questions people ask her in the West when they learn she comes from Iran is:

Is there a chance there will be political change? – Iran changes all the time. There is change in Iran today! There will be change tomorrow. There was change yesterday. Iran's path is unclear. It's future is unclear. The regime seems to think that the only way to guarantee its survival is by making sure young men and women don't hold hands in public, and that women wear black and men take the gel out of their hair. I am being a bit facetious, but sometimes it really does seem that way to me.

Most people do not want another revolution (it seems)… they want slow change for the better, not the worse.

Trusting USA?

Anthony Loewstein is a writer and blogger who recently went to Iran to discover Iranians’ point of view on different issues. We read in his blog:

Their view of Washington and its intentions are uniformly negative – a variety of journalists, editors and bloggers are openly fearful of a US strike on their country’s nuclear facilities. As leading female journalist and blogger Azadeh Akbari told me, “how can we trust anything America says when we see what they’ve done to Iraq and Palestine?”

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