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Hard-Line Iranian Media Demonize Western 'Cultural Threat'

The hard-line daily newspapers "Kayhan" and "Resalat" have called for a new round of "media purification" in Iran, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.

The two dailies were responding to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's characterization of the "cultural invasion" of the country's media by the West as the "key threat" to the Islamic republic.

In the editorial "Den of Charlatans" published in "Kayhan" on August 10, Hossein Shariatmadari, the supreme leader's representative, holds Iranian journalists responsible for the unrest that followed the controversial June 2009 presidential election.

Paris-based journalist Serajedin Mirdamadi tells RFE/RL that Khamenei has been against freedom of the press since he was appointed to his position in 1989.

Mirdamadi says the judiciary, which is under Khamenei's direct supervision, has suppressed the press in the most brutal ways possible.

"Resalat" has openly threatened Iranian journalists both at home and abroad, branding them "soldiers of Western media" and asking the security institutions, the judiciary, and Islamic groups to confront them.

Mirdamadi says a large number of Iran's most prominent journalists are currently in jail, and those who are still free could be arrested and imprisoned at any time.

But he says confronting Iranian journalists abroad seems to be an empty threat.

Mirdamadi notes that as Iran has no legal power to do so, it would have to resort to the sort of terrorist activities abroad that it engaged in the 1980s in order to make good on the threat.

Read more in Persian here