Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Iran: Newspaper forced to 'rewrite' critical editorial

Tehran, 11 June (AKI) - Iranian newspaper Etemad has been forced to publish a correction after it was the only daily to criticise President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's visit to Rome for the UN-sponsored summit on the global food crisis.
The newspaper is owned by the former president of the Iranian parliament or Majlis, Mehdi Karroubi, who was a candidate in the last presidential elections in Iran. The newspaper's editorial described Ahmadinejad's visit as "a disaster" and noted that the Iranian leader was not received by any Italian politician and that he was not invited to the official dinner hosted by Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi and the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. The newspaper also noted that when he arrived at the airport, there was no Italian minister welcoming him.
The editorial in Etemad, said that the visit was such a "disaster for compromising the image of the country."
The Iranian authorities then forced the newspaper to publish another editorial entitled "A visit rich with success" which criticised the editorial from the day before saying that it had been based on "incorrect and manipulated information". In an interview with Adnkronos International (AKI), a journalist from Etemad, who wished to remain anonymous, said that the second editorial was a "painful price that we had to pay in order to remain open.""Ahmadinejad's office called us to tell us that if the editorial that they had suggested was not published, the newspaper would not be available in the newsstands the next day."

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