Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the head of Iran’s Expediency Council, has condemned media restrictions in Iran, calling them “illegal.”
The Mehr News Agency reports that Ayatollah Rafsanjani admitted in a meeting with members of non-governmental newspapers that professional journalism and media activities are currently very difficult, saying: “The media community is currently facing numerous hardships ranging from lack of finances and facilities to legal and various other pressures.”
He claimed that those who prescribe to the views of Ayatollah Khamenei, Iran’s Supreme Leader, “should welcome expert criticism from the media.”
Ayatollah Rafsanjani expressed regret that “even a limited amount of concerned criticism expressed in order to guarantee the health of the Revolutionary path is not deemed acceptable by extremist forums.”
In recent years, Iranian media and journalists have been the repeated target of persecution by the government. Many journalists have been arrested and incarcerated for the charges of “acting against national security and propaganda against the regime.”
Meanwhile, a number of newspapers have been shut down, and the government crackdown on media activists has forced numerous Iranian journalists to flee the country.
Reporters Without Borders reports that following the controversial 2009 presidential election, more than 200 journalists and netizens have had to leave Iran.