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Iranian newspaper shut down for showing solidarity with Charlie Hebdo

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Mardom-e-Emrooz also has licence suspended over front page depicting George Clooney and words ‘I am Charlie, tooThe-13-January-edition-of-011.jpg



Iranian authorities have shut down a newspaper and suspended its licence after it published a front page depicting George Clooney at the Golden Globes alongside the headline “I am Charlie, too”.


A media court in Tehran ordered the reformist daily Mardom-e-Emrooz, which was in its first month of publication, to be closed down at the weekend because it had shown solidarity with the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo following the deadly shootings at its offices.


Iran’s press watchdog, which operates under the country’s culture ministry and Islamic guidance, also suspended the newspaper’s licence on Monday, confirming its closure was due to the publication of the headline as well as Clooney’s picture showing him wearing a “Je Suis Charlie” badge, according to the state news agency Irna.


The Iranian government as well as a number of its senior clerics and officials have strongly condemned the Paris attacks that led to the killings of Charlie Hebdo journalists but at the same time have abhorred its publications of many cartoons showing Prophet Muhammad.


In the aftermath of the attacks, Iranian journalists who wanted to show solidarity with Charlie Hebdo were not allowed to hold rallies in Tehran.


The Iranian government, in particular, has condemned the latest cover of the magazine, which showed a weeping prophet Muhammad holding up a sign reading “Je Suis Charlie”, saying it was provocative and insulting to Islam.


Mardom-e-Emrooz’s closure came after a number of conservative media outlets in Iran, including the daily paper Kayhan, demanded it be shut down and MPs threatened to impeach the culture minister if no action was taken.


“If the culture minister does not firmly confront this newspaper, then he would be the subject of an impeachment,” MP Zohreh Tayebzadeh told the semi-official Fars news agency.


The New York-based International Campaign for Human Rights in Iransaid: “Demands for closure of Mardom-e-Emrooz gained momentum when Iranian state television joined Kayhan and other conservative publications and ran several news segments condemning Mardom-e-Emrooz.”


The Iranian news website IranWire said Mardom-e Emrooz’s closure highlighted Iran’s own battle for freedom of expression.


“The closure also points to a wider problem: Rouhani’s failure to expand freedom of the press in Iran more generally. The move reveals enormous divisions within Iran’s political landscape,” it said.


“The battle over free expression has just begun in Iran, with Rouhani and his administration pitted against hardliners, who are deeply entrenched in both parliament and the judiciary. The closure of Mardom-e Emrooz is a reminder of how bitter the fight will be, and illustrates how much power hardliners command.”

The Guardian





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