[QODLink]
Middle East
Iran curbs media after poll result
Media cries foul as authorities seek to control flow of information.
Last updated: 15 Jun 2009 11:26
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Tehran accuses the media of exaggerating 
post-poll protests in the country [AFP]

Iran has taken steps to control the flow of information from both domestic and international news sources, accusing them of exaggerating reports of anti-government protests in Tehran, the capital.

On Monday, the government ordered the expulsion of a Spanish television crew who were covering the protests against the re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, one of the journalists said.

"We are the unwelcome witnesses," Yolanda Alvarez of the RTVE public broadcasting network said.

"They want to get rid of all the foreign media ... the streets last night were full of ant-riot police. The reason there has been no repression (until now) is definitely because they know we were there," she said.

Al Jazeera's Teymoor Nabili, reporting from Tehran, said that it had become increasingly difficult for the media to operate in Iran since the elections results were announced on Saturday. 

"Day-by-day our ability to access any information has been slowly whittled away," he said.

"I now stand in a position where I am no longer allowed to take a camera out onto the streets, I am not even sure if I can walk out onto the streets with a mobile phone without getting into trouble.

Newspaper suspended

Also on Monday, a reformist newspaper owned by Mir Hossein Mousavi, the defeated presidential candidate, was suspended by the authorities.

"It seems to be part of a pattern of behaviour by the Iranian authorities to limit the reporting of the aftermath of the disputed election"

Peter Horrocks,
BBC World Service director

According to a report in another newspaper, Mousavi's Kalameh Sabz (Green Word) newspaper was suspended following the publication of an unspecified caricature, and a complaint concerning an insult to Ahmadinejad.

The paper's website reported that more than 10 million votes in Friday's election were missing national identification numbers, data which make the vote "untraceable."

However, it did not say where it got the information.

The British Broadcasting Company (BBC) said its broadcast was being electronically jammed causing service disruptions for viewers and listeners in Iran, the Middle East and Europe.

It said it had traced the jamming of the satellite signal broadcasting its Farsi-language service to a spot inside Iran.

"It seems to be part of a pattern of behaviour by the Iranian authorities to limit the reporting of the aftermath of the disputed election,'' Peter Horrocks, the director of BBC World Service in London, said.

Internet filtering

Ahmadinejad lashed out at the media shortly after he claimed victory in the election that critics say was marked by widespread voter fraud.

The government increased its internet filtering. Social networking sites including Facebook and Twitter were not working, and mobile phone services were restored on Sunday, after being down on election day.

Geronimo Akerlund, a spokesman for the Swedish network SVT,  said its reporter had been asked to "leave Iran as soon as possible", and Al Arabiya, the Dubai-based news network, said its correspondent in Tehran was verbally told by Iranian authorities that its office would be closed for a week.

At a news conference on Sunday, Ahmadinejad sought to allay fears about a media crackdown and said: "Don't worry about freedom in Iran. Newspapers come and go and reappear. Don't worry about it."

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Featured on Al Jazeera
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Featured
Spirits are high in Scotland's 'Whisky Capital of the World' with one distillery thirsty for independence.
President Poroshenko arrives in Washington on Thursday with money and military aid on his mind, analysts say.
Early players in private medicine often focused on volume over quality, turning many Chinese off for-profit care.
Al Jazeera asked people across Scotland what they think about the prospect of splitting from the United Kingdom.
Blogger critical of a lack of government transparency faces defamation lawsuit from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
join our mailing list