Iran: Protests over ban of women's magazine

Zanan Magazine [Fa] (means “women's magazine”) was banned by the Iranian government two weeks ago, after 16 years in print. Iranian authorities have canceled the license sof many journals and magazines in recent years, but Zanan's closure has stirred strong international and national protests.

More than 120 academics and human rights activists such as Noam Chomsky, Jürgen Habermas, Betty Willams, and Shirin Ebadi have signed a letter and addressed it to Iranian leaders protesting the ban.

More than 1000 Iranian journalists, intellectuals, and cultural personalities within Iran and abroad, wrote a similar letter and praised the role of Zanan in Iran. Human Rights First launched a protest campaign too.

One thing we can learn form this story is despite 27 years of censorship, people are still not complacent. Some bloggers have covered this issue with passion and almost real-time updates.

According to a New York Times report from Iran, authorities said the magazine was a “threat to the psychological security of the society” because it showed Iranian women in a “black light.”

RazeNo [Fa] (Syamak Ghasemi) has covered this story form the beginning and not only shares his idea but provided his readers with links to other magazines and blogs that talk about the end of Zanan.

The blogger says:

This magazine after 16 years history and publishing more than 150 issues was shutdown as simple as this. I wish courage for Shahla Sherkat, the editor of Zanan, to continue her struggle against ignorance and oppression.

The blogger also has published a cover photo (you can see above) of one of the issues of Zanan that may be the reason for the closure of the magazine. On the cover is written, “They get killed in order to kill”. This is an article about Iranian female martyrdom seekers.

Razeno adds [Fa] that Zanan has covered and analysed different aspect of womens’ role and status in Iranian society and was popular among both men and women.

Futurama writes [Fa] that Zanan has not received any financial support from government in all these years and that the magazine is truly one of women’s achievement. “It seems what happened to this magazine is the destiny of all independent magazines and journals in country. But the question is where is the end of such actions?”

Asieh Amini has chosen[Fa] “Execution of Word” as the title of her post.

She says with irony:

Zanan just reflected women’s voices in the magazine, and they are women who threated the so called psychological security of society.

She has also published some photos of the final ceremony to honour the magazine's 16 years of history.

Shirin Ahmadinya writes [Fa] in two words, that she is not surprised, and continues, “We become more sorry each day.”

Kafe Naseri says [Fa] “Zanan called itself the first feminist magazine in Iran when the word feminism for many equals an insult.”


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