Sprint Long Distance

The Iranian


email us

Sprint Long Distance

Flower delivery in Iran

Fly to Iran

Sehaty Foreign Exchange

    News & views

Press clampdown paralyses reform course in Iran

By Farshid Motahari

July 28, 2000, Teheran (dpa) - Despite overwhelming victories in presidential and parliamentary elections Iranian President Mohammad Khatami seems to have ground to a halt with his reform efforts.

The slow-down follows an extensive press crackdown by the conservative opposition.

The president's brother, Mohammad-Reza Khatami, who is also Vice-Speaker and Head of the reformist party IIPF which has a 70 per cent majority in the Majlis, described the move as ``a severe and paralysing blow to the reformers''. He said it also deprived the pro-Khatami wing of its daily contact with the people.

On Tuesday, the official news agency IRNA reported that conservatives in the judiciary closed down the 21st publication in the country and even sealed off the building of the Gunagun (Variety) weekly.

The conservative opposition, which consists of traditional clergy and still enjoys influence within the judiciary, accuses reformers and the liberal press of planning to get rid of Iran 's ruling Islamic system and replace it with a secular scheme in line with ``enemies of the revolution''.

The new Majlis, which started in May, was expected to change the current press law in line with which not only 21 publications -including 20 pro-Khatami ones - were closed down but which put thousands of reporters and other press-related workers out of a job.

Several journalists have also been detained in the notorious Evin prison in northern Teheran on charges of having undermined Islam in their press work.

``The Majlis should not to waste time with lengthy debates over matters that may be of little or no consequence to the average man but concentrate on issues which have the eyes of an anxiously expectant nation fixed onto them'', IRNA, itself under heavy pressure for its pro-reform trend, wrote in an editorial.

Reformists say that owing to a lack of transparency in press law, press violation charges are based on individual legal interpretations by judiciary officials who are against the reform trend.

President Khatami is an advocator of press freedom but he abides by the principle that the judiciary is independent of the government and therefore there should be no interference. He relies on ``teaching democracy and tolerance'' as a long-term solution to the issue.

The reformists in the Majlis are scheduled to tackle next month the controversial press law which is widely expected to trigger heated debates and eventually have a major impact on the country's political future and the future of Khatami's reform course.

``The Majlis is to debate on August 6 one of the most controversial bills since its foundation and is standing before a crucial test with the amendment to the press law which is intended to ensure freedoms for a society which is placing heavier emphasis on civil liberties,'' IRNA said.


 MIS Internet Services

Web Site Design by
Multimedia Internet Services, Inc

 GPG Internet server

Internet server by
Global Publishing Group.