Iran General NewsIran urges media to trigger 'enthusiasm' for poll

Iran urges media to trigger ‘enthusiasm’ for poll

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ImageAFP: The Iranian government urged the media on Sunday to spur "enthusiasm" for the June 12 presidential election but warned it against breaking cultural and ethical guidelines of the Islamic republic.

ImageTEHRAN (AFP) — The Iranian government urged the media on Sunday to spur "enthusiasm" for the June 12 presidential election but warned it against breaking cultural and ethical guidelines of the Islamic republic.

"The Ministry of Culture, as a servant of the media cannot give orders, but has requested it to raise enthusiasm for the election," the official IRNA news agency said quoting Culture Minister Mohammad Hossein Safar Harandi.

But Safar Harandi advised the media to "be careful of not breaking the cultural and ethical guidelines of the society when they are reporting on the election."

In a separate statement to IRNA, his deputy, Ali Reza Malekian, said the media should "publish correct stories and reflect the realities, so that the ground is prepared for the maximum participation of people in the election."

"We hope the media will act fairly and will not resort to anything which weakens the national interest in a bid to make political gains."

They spoke as ISNA newsagency reported that reformist daily Yas No has been stopped from publishing, a day after it returned to news-stands following a six year ban.

Since 2005 when hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad became the president, Iran has seen tighter restrictions on newspapers and media organisations.

Ahmadinejad is seeking a second term as president and is facing opposition from three main candidates.

Moderate former prime minister Mir Hossein Mousavi and ex-parliament speaker Mehdi Karroubi have emerged as his main opponents, along with former chief of Revolutionary Guards Corp, Mohsen Rezai.

Publication of Yas No (New Jasmine) was stopped in response to a "request" from Tehran prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi whose complaint six years ago led to the closure of the newspaper, Malekian said.

The newspaper was relaunched on Saturday.

"Mortazavi wrote a letter on Saturday, saying he was one of the main complainants against the newspaper (six years ago) and that the judge's decision (taken a few months ago authorising the relaunch) was not communicated to him so that he can appeal," Malekian said.

Mortazavi has now filed an appeal and publication of the newspaper has been stopped at his request, the deputy minister said.

Yas No is seen as close to reformist former president Mohammad Khatami.

It was banned by the judiciary six years ago when it published a letter from reformist members of parliament questioning supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's role in the mass disqualification of candidates in the 2004 parliamentary election.

The judiciary is dominated by conservatives and closed scores of reformist titles during Khatami's presidency between 1997 and 2005.

Khatami is backing Mousavi in the June poll.

The daily Etemad Melli said on Saturday that Mousavi is launching this week a new daily newspaper, Kalameh Sabz (Green Word), just days before campaigning for the election begins officially on May 22.

The last prime minister of Iran before the post was scrapped in 1989, Mousavi is seeking to make a comeback after two decades in the political wilderness.

Etemad Melli also reported that a weekly magazine, Farheekhtegan, is being launched as a daily newspaper from this week and that it too is expected to back Mousavi.

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