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Rohani Criticizes Practice Of Closing Iranian Newspapers

A front page from the now-defunct "Bahar" newspaper in September 2013 showing President Hassan Rohani.
Iranian President Hassan Rohani has criticized the practice of shutting down newspapers that offend the government.

In statements broadcast on March 8, Rohani defended "freedom of the press with responsibility," saying that public trust is harmed when the government stifles the media.

Rohani said shutting down newspapers should be "the last resort, not the first."

The Iranian government has a long track record of shutting down newspapers it claims have offended the country's values.

In October, two months after Rohani took office, the reformist daily "Bahar" was closed down, purportedly over an article that questioned whether the Prophet Muhammad actually named Imam Ali as his successor.

Based on reporting by AFP and AP