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Iran urges judiciary to act against media

Iran urges judiciary to act against mediaAgence France Presse, Tehran – The government of hardline Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has called on judiciary to clamp down on local media which it accused of "spreading lies", press reports said Sunday.

"The bulk of false reports against the government should be followed up by the public prosecutor," government spokesman Gholam Hossein Elham wrote to the hardline prosecutor of Tehran, Saeed Mortazavi, in a letter published by media.

Elham complained about newspaper editorials accusing Ahmadinejad of financial wrong-doing.

"Are you waiting for a lawsuit to be filed against them?" Elham asked Mortazavi, without mentioning which newspaper he was referring to.
Iran’s often turbulent experiment with reform following the 1997 election of Ahmadinejad’s moderate predecessor Mohammad Khatami saw a proliferation of new titles and increasingly open criticism of the way the Islamic republic is run.

But the judiciary, which remained controlled by hardliners, hit back by shutting down hundreds of publications and detaining scores of journalists.

And since Ahmadinejad took office in August last year, there has been a renewed clampdown on the domestic media.

The head of Iran’s journalists union, Rajab-Ali Mazroui, said Elham’s letter showed the government wanted to further rein "the already self-censored press," the students news agency ISNA reported.

"Today, the number of reformist media has reached a minimum. The main media possibilities are in hands of the government."

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