Iranian Parliament Demands Easing of Curbs on Press
Iran's reformist parliament passed Sunday a motion calling for urgent changes to restrictive legislation on the press approved by its conservative-dominated predecessor shortly before the end of its term.
The motion, passed by a large majority, said parliament should discuss the question as a matter of urgency, with its various committees meeting as soon as possible to debate amendments to ease curbs on the media.
The legislation passed on April 18th and only recently ratified, increased the punishments for offences by the press, gave the conservative-dominated courts more powers to suspend or otherwise sanction newspapers and act against journalists as well as publishers.
It also forbids a suspended paper to reappear under a new name, a practice which became common over the past year as the courts cracked down on the reformist press which supports President Mohammad Khatami.
Even before the latest legislation was passed, the judiciary suspended more than a dozen dailies and jailed a number of press chiefs for various offences relating to the content of their publications.
Reformists, who won a huge majority in the February elections, had pledged to overturn the restrictive law in the first weeks of the new parliament, which opened May 27th – TEHRAN (AFP)
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