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IRAN - Aug. 8 - Journalists Sit In To Protest.

More than 200 pro-reform journalists hold a vigil in Tehran, saying they are protesting a continuing media crackdown and a lack press freedoms. The journalists lit candles to mourn the anniversary of the death of Mahmoud Saremi, a reporter of the official Islamic Republic News Agency who was killed in 1988 by the former Taliban rulers in Afghanistan, and the death of Iranian-Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi, who died in police custody last month. Mohsen Kadivar, a leading reformist theologian and writer said: "Today, we have gathered here to tell the people of the world that freedom of the pen in Iran is restricted. Today, the biggest problem of journalists in Iran is absence of justice and freedom... It's not a source of pride that Iran is known as the biggest jail for journalists in the Middle East... the way you rulers behave has no consistency with the Quran, which respects the pen". Hossein Bastani, editor of the reformist Yas-e-Nou daily, said his and other reformist papers were publishing just four pages on Aug. 9, instead of the usual 16. He said: "Yas-e-Nou will be published with only four pages on Saturday [Aug. 9] to protest press restrictions. There will be nothing in the paper other than coverage of the sit-in". Mass closures of newspapers began in April 2000, days after the Supreme Leader Ayat. Ali Khamen'i said 10 to 15 reformist publications were "bases of the enemy". Traditionalists have closed down more than 90 pro-democracy publications and jailed several dozen writers and political activists since then, almost all of them without trial or in closed trials without a jury.
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Publication:APS Diplomat Recorder
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:7IRAN
Date:Aug 9, 2003
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