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Rouhani can take steps to improve Iran press freedom

The following is a blog post by Solmaz Sharif/CPJ Guest Blogger:

After eight hellish years for Iran's journalists under outgoing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the election of Hassan Rouhani was welcomed with hope for a better future. As soon as he takes office in August, he should act on his view and take steps to protect journalists in Iran.

Admittedly, it is not clear how much influence Rouhani will have as president. In Iran, the judiciary and government work separately (the third power is Parliament), and all these forces work under Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who also has an eye on some government divisions such as the intelligence services. While arrests are made by the judiciary, the president has the power to negotiate or raise awareness in some cases.

In his first press conference after the election, Rouhani was asked if he would lift restrictions on certain political figures, a likely reference to opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, who are under house arrest. In response, he admitted it was not his decision alone, the Guardian reported. The same likely applies to imprisoned journalists.

Read the full story on CPJ's website.

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