Monday, March 17, 2008
Iran shuts down 9 magazinesBy LEE KEATH, Associated Press WriterSun Mar 16, 3:01 PM ET
Iran's Culture Ministry on Sunday announced the closure of nine cinema and lifestyle magazines for publishing pictures and stories about the life of "corrupt" foreign film stars and promoting "superstitions."
The Press Supervisory Board, a body controlled by hard-liners, also sent warning notes to 13 other publications and magazines on "observing the provisions of the press law," the ministry said on its Web site.
It was not clear why the nine magazines were targeted for closure. They do not deal with politics, focusing on light lifestyle features, family advice, and news of celebrities.
They regularly publish photos of Iranian actresses in loose headscarves and stylish clothes, as well as foreign female film stars without head coverings — but nothing more revealing than what is tolerated on some state media.
A recent issue of one of the closed magazines, Sobh-e-Zendegi, or Morning of Life, had photos of Cameron Diaz, Naomi Watts, Mandy Moore and Angelina Jolie — all wearing long sleeves and baggy clothing — and brief stories on some of their current activities.
The ministry said it shut the magazines down for "using photos of artists, especially foreign corrupt film stars, as instruments (to arouse desire), publishing details about their decadent private lives, propagating medicines without authorization, promoting superstitions."
It did not elaborate. Such magazines often have small adds for vitamins and remedies, including pills to treat impotence.
Mohsen Ahmadi, editor Sobh-e-Zendegi, condemned the order.
"It is deplorable that a family lifestyle magazine is ordered closed. It means 70 people have lost their job," he told The Associated Press.
Ahmadi said he received the closure order from the Culture Ministry on Sunday, but it was dated March 10. He said he suspected authorities waited to implement the order until after Friday's parliament elections to avoid raising anger.
The other magazines closed down were Donya-e-Tasvir, Baznegari, Talash, Be Sooy-e-Eftekhar, Neday-e-Iran, Haft, Shooka and Havar, according to the Web site.
Iran saw a wave of newspaper closures amid a confrontation between reformers and hard-liners during the 1997-2005 tenure of former reformist President Mohammad Khatami.
The judiciary has shut down more than 100 pro-reform newspapers and jailed dozens of editors and writers on vague charges of insulting authorities since 2000.