Hamshahri Newspaper Suspends and Dismisses Senior Journalists
A reliable source inside Hamshahri Newspaper told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that four of the senior journalists of the newspaper have been suspended from work and a reporter has been dismissed. Though there have been many dismissals at Hamshahri Newspaper in the past, the suddenness of the actions has surprised many of the people who work at the newspaper.
According to the source, the newspaper staff fear that the suspensions are the beginning of a trend to remove the newspaper’s experienced staff and replacing them with new resources who are of the same political orientation as the paper’s management.
Head of the newspaper’s Provincial Section, Alireza Ketabdar, suspended the four senior members of the Hamshahri editorial staff. Jamshid Poureskandar, Abbas Asadi, Soheila Niakan, and Gholamali Shidfar who have worked at Hamshahri for at least 20 years have been sent home as a result of the decision. The newspaper’s management has told members of the editorial staff that the trend will continue. The suspended staff have been told to “go home and if we find a spot for you in the Local Section, or Research Department, or elsewhere, we will inform you.” Mr. Shidfar covered the Cinema Section and Mr. Niakan covered the Visual Arts Section. No reasons have been offered for the dismissals. Another newspaper manager, Ali Asghar Mahaki, has kept silent about the changes. Another journalist by the name of Elham Anari has been fired from her job in the Urban Section of the paper.
Hamshahri’s management has changed over the past year to include many individuals who formerly worked in the police force or the Judiciary. Currently, the newspaper’s Managing Director is Mehdi Zakeri who has come from the Judiciary. “Since he has arrived the Newspaper, writers from some of the most radical pro-government publications have started working in the paper. Hamshahri has always received a lot of attention from political groups because of its high turnover. Wherever there is money, such matters and changes prevail,” the source told the Campaign. The source also confirmed that the suspended staff may be dismissed.