Iranian Ministry of Culture shuts down two newspapers in two days for crime of untainted reporting

Closures are the fourth and fifth news outlets to be shut down under President Rouhani.
By Matt Bradwell  |  Updated May 11, 2014 at 9:25 PM
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TEHRAN, May 11 (UPI) -- Iranians expecting to buy Thursday's edition of reformist newspaper Ghanoon were disappointed not to find it on newsstands as the publication has been forced to close by the Iranian Ministry of Culture. The latest closures bring the total number of Iranian media outlets shut down by the Ministry of Culture to at least five since the election of President Hassan Rouhani in August.

Ghanoon, the Persian word for "law," was shut down for its coverage of the arrest of Mohammad Rouyanian, the former chair of the Persepolis soccer club and member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp. Rouyanian, who was arrested on fraud charges in March, was head of Iran's powerful Management Transportation and Fuel Center under controversial former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

"The newspaper published false reports aimed at disturbing public opinion, and (articles) against the Islamic values," read the Ministry of Culture's statement. The statement is posted on Ghanoon's still-operational website.

Ghanoon's article was just a reprint of a report published by Iranian news agency Dana, which the Ministry of Culture also shutdown when that fact became apparent.

The forced closure has put at least 60 journalists out of work at Ghanoon, in addition to those working for Dana.

Moderate Party Parliamentarian Ali Motahari, who is on Iran's press oversight committee, took to the press to remind Iranians and the government that these decisions are supposed to be handled by parliament, not the president, Ministry of Culture or Ayatollah.

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