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Iran's president-elect calls for new media freedoms

© afp

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2013-07-03

Iran's president-elect Hassan Rohani called Wednesday for the government and clergy to renege restrictions on internet access and allow more freedom for the media in line with his campaign promises of a more moderate Iranian state.

Iranian president-elect Hassan Rouhani called on Wednesday for the government and powerful clergy to end interference in the private lives of the Iranian people, free up Internet access and for state media to be more open about Iran’s problems.

Rouhani’s comments begin to flesh out his message of moderation at home and better relations abroad that led to his surprise election win last month.

His victory prompted a huge outpouring of support from Iranians hungry for change after eight years of tight security and confrontation under President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

“There shouldn’t be any rift or division between the government or the clergy especially at a time when people have pinned their hopes on seeing some sort of change in society,” Rouhani, a mid-ranking cleric told fellow clergy in Tehran.

“We need a strong society, a strong government. Today the ground has been prepared for popular participation. The people have pinned their hopes on the future,” he said in an address aired on state television.

“A strong government does not mean a government that interferes and intervenes in all affairs. It is not a government that limits the lives of people. This is not a strong government,” he said.

Filtering the Internet in Iran, stepped up after social media was used to encourage and coordinate large protests following the disputed 2009 presidential election, had proved ineffective, Rouhani said on Twitter.

“Which important piece of news has filtering been able to black out in recent years?” he asked.

At he same time, he criticised state broadcaster IRIB for ignoring issues inside Iran.

The state has a monopoly over terrestrial television in Iran and though satellite receivers are banned and foreign news broadcasts are often blocked, many Iranians tune in to U.S. and Europe-based channels beaming news and entertainment into the Islamic Republic.

“When IRIB airs the birth of a panda in China but nothing about unpaid workers protesting, it is obvious that the people and youth will ignore it,” Rouhani tweeted.

(REUTERS)

Date created : 2013-07-03

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