Iran - Commission bans leading feminist magazine

    MONTREAL, Jan. 30 /CNW Telbec/ - Reporters Without Borders condemns a
decision by the Commission for Press Authorisation and Surveillance on
28 January to suspend the feminist monthly Zanan ("Women" in Farsi) for
"publishing information detrimental to society's psychological tranquillity."
    The press freedom organisation is also concerned about a summons received
by Jila Bani Yaghoub of the daily Sarmayeh on 23 January from a Tehran
revolutionary court in connection with a case for which she was arrested in
    "The Commission for Press Authorisation and Surveillance is the
judiciary's right arm in its crusade against news media that stray from the
official line," Reporters Without Borders said. "It has been responsible for
the suspension of many publications which the courts subsequently close down
for good, often imprisoning their journalists. In Iran, the right to
information is still seen as a threat to national security."
    The commission accused Zanan of "offering a sombre picture of the Islamic
Republic," "compromising its readers' mental health" and "publishing morally
questionable information." Editor Shahla Sherkat, who disputes the legal
validity of the charges, said she had not yet been officially notified of the
suspension. Regarded as the country's leading feminist magazine, it has been a
forum for debating Iranian society's most controversial topics since its
creation 16 years ago.
    Dozens of news media have been suspended by the commission since Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad became president. Deputy state prosecutor Nasser Saraji told the
official news agency ISNA in October that the commission had suspended 42
publications and cancelled 24 licences since 2005. Other newspapers have been
temporarily or provisionally suspended by the courts. Those suspended since
October include Krafto, Ashati, Arzesh, Bilmaj and Madareseh.
    Yaghoub is being prosecuted for covering a women's demonstration on 4
March 2007, when she was arrested and held for three days. She is charged with
"participating in an illegal demonstration," "activity against national
security" and "publicity against the Islamic Republic."
    Other journalists and cyber-feminists who attended the demonstration are
also still being prosecuted. But journalist and blogger Asieh Amini
(, independent journalist Fatemeh Govarayee and activist
Susan Tahmassebi, the editor of the English-language version of were acquitted on 21 January.

For further information:

For further information: Katherine Borlongan, Secretary General,
Reporters without Borders, (514) 521-4111, Cell: (514) 258-4188

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