A press union condemned the judiciary for the recent closing of two reformist newspapers which ran long articles on Zahra Kazemi’s murder trial. In a letter to the culture and labor ministers, 170 journalists complained of lack of job security. July 19, 2004 - In a letter to culture minister Ahmad Masjed-Jamei and labor and social affairs minister Nasser Khaleqi, 170 journalists protested against the judiciary’s closing of two reformist newspapers, Jomhuriyat and Vaqayeh Ettefaqieh.
Jumhuriat, which called itself a “social newspaper,” and gave a full-page coverage to Zahra Kazemi’s death in custody trial, was closed after the article appeared, only 12 days after it began publishing. Vaqayeh Ettefaqieh, which has been publishing for nearly two months, was ordered closed by the judiciary for its coverage of the same trial.
“We don’t speak of freedom of press, which is our legal right,” the letter said. “We don’t even pass any judgment on the legality of the court decisions, but we are journalists and journalism is our job,” the writers added, pointing out that frequent closing of newspapers has made the jobs of reporters and other newspaper workers insecure.
Also, the trade society of journalists, blamed the judiciary for the closing of more than 100 newspapers in the past three years. In a statement, the society, which acts as a union for employees of the reformist newspapers, called for lifting of the ban on all closed newspapers, and said last Saturday's closing of the two papers was another indication of the judiciary’s opposition to freedom of press.