Crackdown!

The Islamic Republic seems to be escalating their liberty repression these days with the presidential election season kicking in:

1) The Iranian cabinet is currently reviewing a draft that would make journalism in Iran completely beholden to the government if implemented as the official professional “journalism guidelines”. This is a legislative act that may be argued against as the executive stepping outside of its constitutional powers.

According to the Rooz report, “All powers ‎relating to the selection of journalism permit committee are transferred to the Ministry of ‎Culture and Islamic Guidance, meaning that the committee’s nine members will be ‎selected by the ministry’s deputy in press and media affairs. In addition, the committee ‎will be headed by the ministry’s deputy.”‎ This in essence means that the committee will be fully in charge of ‎determining the criteria for issuance and cancellation of journalist identification cards, and rights to being a professional journalist.

2) In an effort to silence foreign journalists, Iran has jailed freelance journalist Roxana Saberi, for operating without a license to practice journalism. She had her press credentials revoked a couple of years ago, but decided to stay in Iran to do research for a book and finish a master’s degree.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Qashqavi explained during a press conference that the case was now in the hands of the justice ministry, expressing that “Since 2006 when her press accreditation was revoked, she should not have illegally sought to gather information and news in Iran.”

This is an interesting excuse considering she has been reporting on short pieces in Iran for NPR since 2006 with government knowledge and acquiescence.

3) Reformist, and even possible principle-ist, candidate’s websites are being heavily filtered inside of Iran. Khatami’s websites yarri.ir and yarrinews.com have been filtered heavily recently. They are operated by young independent, activist journalists and are seen by regime hardliners as tools to spread “lies” about the regime. Additionally, mayor of Tehran Qalibaf (a possible principle-ist oppostition to Ahmadinejead) has already had his Tehran municipality site blocked once for insulting Ahmadinejad’s economic policies, but this time his election supporter site is getting some blockage.

In addition, Khatami is getting no coverage in the official, or semi-official, IRI news sites such as IRNA, Mehd News, or Fars news. These are a major source of news for the populace, but with official control the news is very regime-heavy, with no oppositional voice or any ‘bad’ news regarding regime actions, policy, or standard current events.

With the election coming up it will be important to note the massive crackdowns, such as the one last week at Amir Kabir University in Tehran. Here is some inside knowledge on it. This was a classic representation of what the thug elements of the Basij will be escalating for the next few months I imagine, after their tasking by Khamenei, as I’ve mentioned before. The principal-ists, whether it be Ahmadinejad, or whoever have the institutions of the regime at their disposal in order to assist in repression of the opposition. This regime does not mess around.

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~ by The Common Man on March 2, 2009.

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