The Iranian government forced Iran’s influential women’s magazine Zanan ("Women" in Farsi) to close down last week. The Commission for Press Authorization and Surveillance claim that Zanan painted a "dark picture" of Iran. Iranian authorities allege that Zanan was "compromising the psyche and the mental health" of the society by disseminating "morally questionable information."
Zanan’s editor, founder, and Islamic Iranian feminist Shahla Sherkat has tried to steer away from general Iranian politics, and instead focuses on women's issues.. “Doing journalism in countries like ours—where...the system thinks if you say anything it’s going to fall apart—it’s like being a trapeze artist,” said Sherkat in a winter 2007 interview with Ms. Magazine.
Sherkat’s work helped bring light to taboo subjects such as sex, women’s rights, and government bureaucrats. Adnkronos International describes Zanan’s history in Iranian society as being "at the forefront in the fight for fundamental women’s rights in Iran."
According to Reporters Without Borders, the magazine is just one in 42 publications to be shut down by the Commission for Press Authorization and Surveillance. "It has been responsible for the suspension of many publications which the courts subsequently closed down for good, often imprisoning their journalists. In Iran, the right to information is still seen as a threat to national security."
Media Resources: Reporters Without Borders; Ms. Magazine Winter 2007; Adnkronos International 1/28/08; Feministing.com 1/30/08