Iran - Newspaper suspended over spoof movie poster about presidential election



    MONTREAL, Feb. 5 /CNW Telbec/ - Reporters Without Borders condemns
yesterday's decision by the ministry of culture and Islamic guidance to
suspend Hemat, a weekly that supports allies of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
The ministry said a spoof movie poster on the front page of the latest issue,
on 1 February, had insulted senior government officials.
    "There would be something comic about this suspension if it did not
constitute a heavy-handed warning to all Iranian media that do not limit
themselves to reproducing propaganda," Reporters Without Borders said. "It
seems that news reports are not the only form of content to give rise to
sanctions. Humour clearly does too."
    The spoof poster, for an imaginary movie called "Slaying of Ahmadinejad,"
alluded to the presidential election scheduled for June. The poster showed the
photo of the film's supposed director, former President Hashemi Rafsanjani,
together with the photos of its three stars: former President Mohammad
Khatami, former Prime Minister Mir-Hossein Mousavi and Tehran's current mayor,
Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf. All three are potential rivals to Ahmadinejad in the
election.
    The Commission for Press Authorisation and Surveillance, the censorship
arm of the ministry of culture and Islamic guidance, ordered the newspaper's
suspension for "insulting high-placed regime officials."
    Iran's prosecutor general, Ghorbanali Najafabadi, told the news agency
ILNA that, "as such a publication constitutes an insult and a defamation of
the Shari'a and the Iranian constitution, the prosecutor has a duty to pursue
the case." Hemat had received warnings after its previous issue as well.




For further information:

For further information: Katherine Borlongan, secretary general,
Reporters Without Borders, (514) 521-4111, Cell: (514) 258-4188, Fax: (514)
521-7771, rsfcanada@rsf.org

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