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:: Protest against banning of women magazine in Iran (15-02-2008 17:44)
More than 120 academics and human rights activist have send a letter to the Iranian Government protesting the ban of the Iranian women magazine “Zanan”. Among the academics and activists are professor Jürgen Habermas, Shirin Ebadi (Nobel Peace Laureate 2003), Betty Williams & Mairead Corrigan Maguire (Nobel Peace Laureates 1976), and Jody Williams (Nobel Peace Laureate 1997).

On January 29, 2008, “Zanan” magazine was notified by authorities from the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance that their license was to be cancelled immediately due to the psychological threat the magazine posed to Iranian society.  According to reports, the specific article that caught the authorities' attention discussed the rape of a woman by two members of Basij Resistance Force, a paramilitary group with strong ties to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard.

More than 1000 Iranian journalists, intellectuals, and cultural personalities within Iran and abroad, have written a similar protest letter and praised the role of “Zanan” in Iran. “Human Rights First” has also launched a protest campaign.

“Zanan” was established in 1992.  The magazine regularly ran articles dealing with women's health, parenting, and legal issues and was one of the most popular publications in the country.

The letter:

“February 10, 2008

This letter is addressed to the following:
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (Supreme Leader of Islamic Republic of Iran);
Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi (Head of the Judiciary of IRI);
Dr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (President of the Islamic Republic of Iran);
Dr. Gholam Ali Haddad-Adel (Speaker of the Parliament of the Islamic Republic of Iran)

We the undersigned are deeply dismayed to hear that the publishing license of the monthly magazine Zanan has been revoked by the Press Supervisory Board.

For the past 16 years, Zanan has been an important voice reporting on issues that Iranian women face - their problems as well as their achievements. It has also been an indispensable forum for encouraging dialogue among those genuinely interested in solving broader social problems. Its sustained coverage of women's lives in Iran has allowed a balanced international understanding of Iranian society. Revoking Zanan's publication license deprives all Iranians a vital source on women's issues and closes one more journal at a critical moment of the country's life.

We are extremely disturbed by this revocation by a body that constitutionally does not have the authority to revoke the license of any publication. We ask for its immediate withdrawal, and reconstitution of publishing permit for Zanan. The revocation of Zanan’s permit stands in violation of the right to free expression and is, as such, unacceptable by any standards.”
Thomas Gregersen