Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Government Dictating Headlines

Etemad Newspaper Forced to Retract its Headline
After Etemad newspaper published a report on the “failed” trip of President Mahmoud ‎Ahmadinejad to Rome to attend an international meeting of the Food and Agricultural ‎Organization, the President’s office officially asked the newspaper to announce ‎Ahmadinejad’s trip to FAO as “successful” in its headline the next morning, while also ‎publishing the response of the office to the newspaper’s original story.‎
Etemad newspaper is owned by prominent ayatollah Mehdi Karubi, a senior cleric, ‎politician and Speaker of the Majlis (Iran’s parliament) who was also a candidate during ‎the last presidential elections in 2005, with a record of criticizing policies of the current ‎administration.‎
Editorializing that the President was given a cold welcome by Italian officials, it wrote, ‎‎“While Ahmadinejad’s visit, and that of his accompanying team, was initially planned for ‎a 3-day stay, lack of proper coordination cut the visit short to a single day. Mahmoud ‎Ahmadinejad ended his 16 hour visit of Rome without meeting with any senior Italian ‎officials.”‎
Just a few hours after the distribution of the newspaper, the office of Iran’s President sent ‎a response to Etemad and emphatically requested that it be published in the next issue of ‎the daily. Because of this, Etemad had no choice but to change its headline on Monday to ‎the requested words of “The information Published in Yesterday’s Issue of Etemad was ‎Incorrect”, and replaced it with “Ahmadinejad’s Successful Presence at the FAO ‎session.”‎
The President’s response to Etemad’s story said that the daily’s report was a kind of ‎psychological warfare and in line with what Zionist media outside the country engaged ‎in”.‎

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