Friday, June 10, 2005

Despite arrests and closures, Iran's new press says it's here to stay - Yahoo! News

Despite arrests and closures, Iran's new press says it's here to stay - Yahoo! News:

"But according to Issa Saharkiz, a former culture ministry official in charge of the press, entrenched hardliners are fighting a losing battle.

'Every political viewpoint has its own newspaper, even if print-runs have dropped since 2000,' said Saharkiz, who has also headed several papers that drew the wrath of the censors.

Before Khatami, 1.2 million issues of various papers were printed. Today that figure stands at 3.5 million.

'Progressively, new papers are replacing the ones that were closed down. The tone of articles is more prudent, but the depth is still there,' Shamsolvazin explained.

Another emerging force is the student press, which over the past eight years has expanded from 200 to 2,200 titles. With a circulation of two million, Shamsolvazin noted they also carry a 'far more radical line' than the mainstream papers.

Added to that are 42,000 webloggers -- meaning Iran ranks third behind the United States and China in terms of numbers of online diarists.

'The weblogs have developed since the press closed. The pressure is so intense that young people jump onto anything in order to express themselves,' said one weblogger, who asked that she not be named.

'Most of the blogs are not political, but having said that, politics does have an influence on what we write.'"

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