Iranian president lashes out at biased approach to press
Tehran, Iran, November 8
By Mehdi Sepahvand -- Trend:
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has criticized what he calls the "immunity margin" for some members of the press.
Speaking at the inaugural ceremony of Iran Press Expo 2015, Rouhani called for a fair approach to all media, regardless of their political affiliations, the Trend correspondent reported from Tehran November 8.
"It cannot be that some press be given immunity and be exempt from closures... and play the role of undercover police, so that one can discern from some headlines who is going to be arrested and slandered, and who is on their agenda," the president said.
"The same way that we need the press, so we need a press with clear laws... so that certain people would not come up with a new word every day to play with people's freedoms," noted Rouhani.
However, he added, closing news organizations should be the last action on the government's agenda.
"If some media commit a crime, the Ministry of Culture, the Media Monitoring Council and the judiciary should investigate to see if that agency has worked for the benefit of the country or for the benefit of foreigners," Rouhani stated.
""Not every security officer can make a judge of the press and we should move toward equal laws for all," he added.
Occasionally, newspapers or news websites are closed in Iran for crossing red lines. However, Rouhani has been calling for a reduction in political bias in judging media by ultra-governmental bodies.
Also, a number of newspapers and news agencies are absent from this year's expo, including those media that often criticize the Rouhani administration, causing speculation that they have attempted a sort of boycott of the expo.
One day earlier, Rouhani's Cultural Advisor, Hesamoddin Ashena, expressed concern over the absence of those newspapers and news agencies.
"It does not seem that the absence of some media at this year's press exhibition will help with our national unity. But we hope that through official warnings, this unfitting act will somehow result in compensation being paid," Ashena said.