Khabarnegaran.info-Niki Azad: Local journalist Mahdieh Amiri speaks of the hardships of practicing journalism in the southern Iranian province of Bushehr. Amiri has been working as a journalist in Bushehr for years. Since 2007, she has been the editor-in-chief of a few local websites, biweekly and quarterly magazines. She is now the editor-in-chief of hamooniran.com website and Ava-ye Dashtestan biweekly.
Real reasons of banning a women’s magazine: ‘white marriage’ feature just an excuse23 May 2015
Translated by:Mehrdad Safa
Khabarnegaran.info –Niki Azad: Zanan Emrouz magazine, a highly-circulated Iranian monthly on women’s issues, was banned this month for publishing a special feature on ‘white marriage’. The Press Supervisory Committee, overseen by the Ministry of Islamic Culture, alleged that the feature story encouraged cohabitation.
However, many activists believe that it was just a pretext invented by the Iranian authorities to ban a successful magazine that promoted women’s rights.
Shahla Sherkat, executive director and editor-in-chief of Zanan Emrouz magazine, said that many newspapers and news agencies had previously broached the subject of white marriage.
Asieh Amini, journalist and women’s rights activist, told Khabarnegaran that the untold truth behind the ban on the magazine is –to put it very short – that some people don’t want women have an independent voice in the society.
“Zanan Emrouz was neither the creator of the term white marriage, nor the promoter of its cause.”
Amini said she was surprised by the charge. “It’s like a newspaper writes an investigative story about the drying out of Zayanderud River in central Iran, and then they ban the newspaper for Zayanderud drying out.”
Jila Baniyaqoob, journalist, told us that her website, Center of Iranian Women, has been repeatedly banned by the Iranian government.
“Ms. Mehrangiz Kar [women’s rights activist] recently wrote that the Islamic Republic authorities will make up with the United States, but not with women’s magazine, community, rights and issues,” Baniyaqoob said. The Feminist School’s website, run by women’s rights activist Noushin Ahmadi Khorasani, has been repeatedly banned by the Iranian government.
“The Iranian state has got problems with any progressive or critical views,” said Amini, who used to write for Zanan magazine, the precursor to Zanan Emrouz, until it was banned.
Baniyaqoob believes that both Ahmadinejad and Rouhani’s administrations has been intolerant of women’s rights issues. “It’s like if talking about equal rights is their red line.”
Amini, who now lives in Norway, stresses that the government’s problem is with ‘women’s rights’ and ‘independent women’, or more specifically with ‘feminism’.
“Well you can’t have a law on equal gender rights, and it is still be called a sharia law. At least, what we understand as gender equality is in contradiction with interpretations of what we know as sharia,” Amini added.
Khabarnegaran.info-Niki Azad: How is life for Iranian journalists after prison? Does their attitude toward their journalism – the profession that put them in jail – change? Are they more conservative than before? Or bolder?
Khabarnegaran – Niki Azad: He has been put in jail three times for his journalist writing, though he says that jail has not made him feel disappointed with the profession of journalism.