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Iran revokes newspaper license for criticizing Ahmadinejad policies

[JURIST] A division of the Iranian Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance [official website, in Persian] revoked the license of Iranian daily newspaper Tehran Emrouz [official website, in Persian] Saturday for printing articles that criticized the policies of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad [official profile; BBC profile]. The articles [Roozonline.com report] were published on the third anniversary of Ahmadinejad's election and focused on his economic and political strategies. The Tehran public prosecutor accused the newspaper's officials [IRNA report; Press Law Chapter 4 text] of "publishing articles and images insulting to president [sic]," constituting "defamation and publishing false reports to disturb public opinion." Tehran Emrouz's editorial board said in a statement Sunday that the articles unfairly criticized the government and that they were the result of "journalistic adventurism." Reuters has more. Iranian state-run PressTV has additional coverage.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) [advocacy website] has ranked Iran as one of the most restrictive countries for the press, noting that in 2007, the government prosecuted more than 50 journalists [RSF reports], permanently closed at least four news agencies and temporarily closed at least 12 others. In August 2007, Iranian authorities detained three journalists [JURIST report] on charges of "publishing false statements and lies" about Iran. That same month, RSF officials asked UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to intercede on behalf [press release] of two Iranian Kurdish journalists who were sentenced to death [JURIST report] for being "enemies of God." RSF said that the two journalists' "most basic rights were violated as they were barred from court when the sentence was handed down."

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