AFP: Iran’s press watchdog has shut down the new moderate daily Rozegar (“Times”) for resembling a newspaper with a similar stance that was banned last month, the student news agency ISNA reported. TEHRAN, Oct 23, 2006 (AFP) – Iran’s press watchdog has shut down the new moderate daily Rozegar (“Times”) for resembling a newspaper with a similar stance that was banned last month, the student news agency ISNA reported.
The conservative watchdog has banned Rozegar based on a press law that “immediately bans publication of a newspaper that replaces a banned one with similar name, logo and format.”
The supervisory committee also pointed to “repeated notifications that were ignored by Rozegar”, and said that the order for the ban was issued by the majority of its members.
Rozegar first hit the news stands on October 16, nearly a month after the press watchdog shut down the leading moderate broadsheet Shargh (East).
The format and typeset of Rozegar, a 24-page colour daily, closely resembled that of Shargh, for long the standard-bearer of the moderate press. Many of the bylines on the paper showed its reporters were former Shargh journalists.
The new paper had to suspend publication just two days after its first issue after receiving warnings not to cover political news and to change its format, according to the editorial board.
With the requested changes made, Rozegar appeared again on October 21, removing its political news content from three pages and saying it hoped to continue to publish.
According to the culture ministry, the newspaper’s license does not allow it to publish political stories.
Shargh was banned for printing a cartoon depicting two chess pieces, a white knight facing a black donkey surrounded by a white halo — perceived by some as an insult to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
In May, a government daily, Iran, was banned and two of its journalists were arrested for publishing a cartoon which provoked rioting by Iran’s large Azeri community.
Iran has since been given the green light to resume publishing, although it has yet to reappear.
Some 40 national dailies are published in Iran, half of them close to the moderate and reformist camps.
Iran’s hardline judiciary keeps a tight rein on the press. It has closed down scores of titles and detained dozens of journalists since new reformist papers emerged under the rule of former president Mohammad Khatami.