The State Of Democracy In Iran

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on June 11, 2009

Whatever the outcome of the upcoming presidential election in Iran, let there be no doubt that democracy does not thrive there:

A serious crackdown has been enforced on the media in Iran as two major reformist newspapers are shut down before Friday’s election.

All copies of reformist newspaper Etemad Meli have been seized by the government after reformist candidate Mehdi Karroubi made allegations that President Ahmadinejad was involved in several financial scandals. Additionally, the unofficial newspaper of the Islamic Iran Participation Party, Yas-e No, has been shut down.

Several instances of extreme censorship have been reported in the wake of the upcoming election, but this is nothing new. In the past, reformist newspapers have been shut down prior to any major election. The Iranian government has also blocked the social networking sites Facebook and Twitter.

“The Islamic regime doesn’t tolerate that the Participation Party has any newspaper,”
Hossein Bastani, an Iranian dissident journalist living in France, told The Media Line.

Citing the example of another reformist publication, Bastani said, “Just one day before the 2005 parliamentary elections, the Eghbal newspaper was banned by the judiciary. Always before an election, the Participation Party must not have any newspapers.”

No democracy worthy of the name behaves like this. As always, the Iranian people show that they are better than their present leadership class can ever hope to be.

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