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IRAN: Zanan, a voice of women, silenced

January 29, 2008 |  8:07 am

ZananMore bad news for press freedom in Iran.

On Tuesday word emerged that Iran's leading women's magazine has been ordered to close.

Zanan Magazine, a reform-minded feminist magazine has been active in promoting women's rights for the last 16 years. Authorities revoked its license and folks in Tehran say there's no hope for appeal.

Managing director Shahla Sherkat was once a hard-line supporter of the Iranian government but became disillusioned after the Iran-Iraq war. Zanan managed to survive previous crackdowns by cautiously avoiding general politics and focusing on women's issues.

But that didn't work, apparently.

According to preliminary reports it was banned for allegedly portraying a negative image of women in Iran, but no official word has emerged yet.

The Iranian Journalists Assn. condemned the closure. In the last two years, 40 periodicals, including Zanan, have been banned across the country by the Press Supervision Board, which is controlled by hard-liners.

The closure inspired cynical commentary from Iranian bloggers. "I think the average life of a magazine is no longer than the time required for getting the 'publishing licence,' wrote Jadi, a blogger at Inside Iran:

Zanan (means women) used to be a "moderate" magazine. It never wrote anything extreme to prevent its closing. But now, after 16 years the only Persian women's magazine is closed.

—  Ramin Mostaghim in Tehran

Photo: A recent cover of the Iranian women's magazine, Zanan, which was ordered to close by authorities. Credit: Zanan magazine

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