Iran - Court closes new daily six days after its launch

by Reporters Without Borders | Reporters Without Borders
Thursday, 20 February 2014 06:20 GMT

* Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Reporters Without Borders condemns today's decision by a Tehran media court to close the reformist daily Aseman (Sky) after only six issues at the Tehran deputy prosecutor's request.

"This act of censorship is unacceptable," Reporters Without Borders said. "It is indicative of the media war that is being waged by the Revolutionary Guards and orchestrated by courts, to the detriment of freedom of information. We demand the immediate reopening of this newspaper.

Launched as a weekly in 2012, Aseman was given permission to begin publishing as a daily on 15 February. Its closure was the result of an article in its 18 February issue in which a university academic and politician, referring to an event in the 1980s, criticized "the inhuman law of qisas" (an eye for an eye).

Criticized by all international and Iranian human rights groups, this controversial principle is one of the leading provisions of Iran's Islamic penal code.

The day after the article appeared, media that support the Revolutionary Guards and other conservative media, led by Fars News and Tasnim, began condemning the comment, calling it "an insult to Islam's sacred character."

The decision to close Aseman was posted today on the website of the Tehran prosecutor's office, which also intends to prosecute Abass Bozrgmeher, the newspaper's editor.

According to Bozrgmeher, the use of the adjective "inhuman" in the article was a mistake. "I explained in an editorial in the newspaper that the word ‘inhuman' was deleted and that its appearance was due to a technical error."