Iranian Media Banned From Covering Ahmadinejad’s May 2017 Presidential Campaign
Iranian media outlets have been ordered to stop reporting on former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s third presidential campaign for the country’s May 19, 2017 election.
The Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned that the order was issued by the Supreme National Security Council and Tehran Prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dowlatabadi.
Media outlets are allowed to report on Ahmadinejad in relation to issues unrelated to his campaign, an informed source told CHRI.
“Banning the press from covering news is not an unprecedented development,” a reporter in Tehran, who asked to remain anonymous, told CHRI.
“Now and then, we receive orders to ignore certain topics, and we have to comply or else we could endanger our newspaper’s existence,” added the source.
Current President Hassan Rouhani, who chairs the Supreme National Security Council, will be seeking a second term on May 19.
The ban, relayed verbally to media chiefs, includes outlets close to the centrist Rouhani government as well as conservative ones, CHRI has learned.
Ahmadinejad, who was president from 2005 to 2013, fell out of favor with the Islamic Republic’s conservative ruling establishment during his second term after repeatedly quarreling with top officials and because of his combative leadership style.
His reign was marked with large-scale and repeated violations of human rights in the country, including the government’s violent crackdown on the peaceful, mass protests against his disputed election in 2009.
However, after the completion of his second term, Ahmadinejad remained in the ruling establishment as a member of the Expediency Discernment Council, which advises the supreme leader.
Since February 2015, media outlets have also been banned from reporting on former reformist President Mohammad Khatami (1997-2005).
In the last six months leading up to Iran’s elections in May for president and city and village councils, security agencies have arrested more than 20 reporters, as well as political and civil rights activists close to reformists and the Rouhani government.