Reformist Weekly Banned for Publishing Image of Ahmadinejad
A source close to Shahrvand-e Emrooz (Today’s Citizen) Weekly told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that on 5 September 2011 the publication was banned. According to a letter the publication’s management received, the reason for the ban is cited as Article 6 of the Iranian Press Law.
The source told the Campaign that “apparently publishing an image on the cover of the weekly was the reason for its ban.” According to the source, in the referenced issue, there is a collage containing a picture of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on the cover. According to one of the items in Article 6 of the Press Law, “publishing libel against officials, institutions, organizations and individuals in the country or insulting legal or real persons who are lawfully respected, even by means of pictures or caricatures,” is not permitted.
At this moment no further details are available for other reasons why the Press Oversight Committee banned this publication.
Shahrvand-e Emrooz Weekly is an independent, reformist-leaning publication. It opened in March 2006, but “on 6 November 2008, the Press Oversight Committee banned the weekly for its unrealistic portrayal of certain actions of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s cabinet.”
The weekly resumed on 2 July of this year, only to be banned again three months later. The publication’s ban took place after it published two issues featuring images of Mahmour Ahmadinejad on the cover. One issue published on 27 August 2011, depicted Ahmadinejad’s face as a collage of letters with the heading “One Letter, One Vote,” which is a reference to Ahmadinejad courting votes from constituents who write to him by providing them benefits. The other cover, published on 23 July 2011, depicted Ahmadinejad with some of his cabinet members, dressed in clothing from the Safavid dynasty, featuring the title “How to Manage a Country While Asleep.”
Iran Newspaper, affiliated with Ahmadinejad’s Ministry of Islamic Guidance, explicitly asked for judicial action on the publication. “The [Shahrvand-e Emrooz] publication, which belongs to the extremist faction of reformists and whose editorial board had a role in the 2009 sedition, has published an insulting cartoon of the President and those close to him on the cover of its recent issue…Now public opinion and a major part of the Iranian nation whose legally elected president has been insulted await the Judiciary’s reaction to this,” wrote Iran Newspaper in a short news item.