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Iran Bans Well-Known Economic Newspaper


The Iranian state committee that monitors the press has banned the well-known economic newspaper "Asia," RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.

The Deputy Head of Iran's Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, Mohammad Ali Ramin, said the reasons for closing down "Asia" include "publishing pictures against public chastity,” “promoting wastefulness and extravagance," and "persistence in carrying out the aforementioned violations."

"Asia" is known to be critical of the Iranian government's economic plans.

Ahmad Alavi, an Iranian lecturer at Stockholm University, told RFE/RL that "Asia" was likely shut down on August 18 for divulging too much information.

He said "the information given by this newspaper would show the inefficiency of [the Iranian] government and, as we know, the inefficiency of the government undermines the legitimacy of the government."

"These types of newspapers give information to private investors so that they can analyze the economic situation and the possible risk of investment," Alavi said. "Considering the present economic situation [in Iran while] giving information about mismanagement, inflation, and stagnation makes the economic situation more and more risky for private investors, and [such information] can damage the economic structure created by the government."

Alavi told RFE/RL that the consequences of such pressure on economic newspapers and media outlets will affect the economic growth of a country.

But he added that such economic news can be used to stop corruption and increase transparency, which Alavi said are keys to a healthy economy.

"It is natural for a government that is not interested in giving clear information to its own people to be opposed to such independent and active newspapers," he said.

Iran has one of the worst records for banning newspapers and other publications and for imprisoning journalists.