Reformist Magazine Suspended After Advocating Diplomacy to Ease US-Iran Tensions
Tehran’s Culture and Media Court suspended the reformist weekly magazine “Seda” (The Voice) on May 11, 2019, hours after it had published an article about the possibility of a war with the United States.
“The suspension of Seda magazine and the arrest of one of its reporters are causes for concern,” tweeted prominent reformist Member of Parliament Fatemeh Saeidi. “This is the wrong way to overcome these difficult times.”
Ministry officials did not explain why the magazine was ordered to stop operations but the suspension came after the magazine published an article titled “At the crossroads of War and Peace” along with a photo of an American warship on the cover.
State-funded media outlets that maintain close ties to the military and security establishment condemned the article for suggesting that Iran and the US should negotiate to put an end to escalation tensions.
On May 12, a day after the magazine was shut down, security forces raided the home of one its reporters, Ali Malihi, and detained him for questioning. He was released a few hours later.
In May 2010, Malihi was sentenced to four years in prison for his alleged involvement in street protests against the controversial result of Iran’s 2009 presidential election. He was released in August 2011 as part of a general amnesty approved by the supreme leader.
Founded in 2014, Seda operates under the direction of Editor-in-Chief Mohammad Javad Rouh, a veteran reformist journalist who was also detained for two weeks in March 2013 while he was running the monthly “Mehrnameh” (Love Journal) magazine.
In October 2016, a Media Tribunal found Seda guilty of “disturbing public opinion” and “insulting the president” in a satirical article it had published titled, “Sleep easy, Robin Hood isn’t coming.” At the time, the magazine ceased publication until it resurfaced in 2018.