The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has urged the Iranian authorities to reverse their recent decision to shut down the news website Entekhab and “cease any attempts to censor the media.”
The move came amid an intensifying crackdown on civil society and the media ahead of the September 16 anniversary of the start of monthslong protests sparked by Masha Amini's death in police custody.
“Truthful and open reporting on matters of state policy is vitally important for the Iranian public,” Sherif Mansour, CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa program coordinator, said in a statement on September 5.
The previous day, the Press Supervisory Board of the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance revoked Entekhab’s operating license indefinitely and blocked its website and social media accounts in the country.
The ban followed an August 22 video report which criticized President Ebrahim Raisi’s foreign policy.
The Press Supervisory Board said the report was “in contradiction with national interests and against the Islamic Republic’s foreign policy principles.”
Entekhab, one of the most visited news websites in Iran, is close to reformists.
Iranian authorities have arrested dozens of journalists since the eruption of the anti-establishment demonstrations last year.
Known for its harsh internet censorship, which includes banning thousands of websites, the Islamic Republic has periodically suppressed or cut internet access for most Iranians to prevent them from accessing and disseminating information online and from safe online communications.