Monday, July 23, 2012

Reuters Office In Tehran Likely To Be Shut Down For Good

Director General of Foreign Media Office of the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance Mohammad Javad Aqajari said the Reuters representative office in Tehran is likely to be shut down for good.

Talking to Iran's Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) on Monday, he said the first hearing of Reuters court on allegations of labeling Iranian women athletes as terrorists will be held on Sept 30, 2012.

He noted that the head of the news agency's office in Tehran Parisa Hafezi has already attended court sessions twice.

Iranian female athletes have lodged a complaint against Reuters for a photo-report describing them as terrorists.

Stressing that all media and news organisations are ethically and professionally obliged to carry on their activities impartially and in an unbiased manner, the official said Tehran expects foreign media working inside the country to reflect realities and avoid spreading false and unfounded material.

He said the Reuters officials have already admitted their mistakes in numerous correspondence and phone conversations and are so eager to sit for negotiations that they may visit Iran at the time of holding the court session.

Aqajari said despite the fact that the Reuters has already expressed apology for the report both during phone conversations and correspondence, they need to repeat them in person as well.

Saying that the court might vote for permanent closure of Reuters office in Iran, he said that Iran's basic policy was to give space to foreign correspondents.

According to the official, 120 foreign media and press have offices in Tehran.

The activities of Reuters office in Tehran is currently suspended due to a video-report it carried about Iranian female athletes active in Ninjetsu, labeling them as terrorists.

The report implied that thousands of Iranian women are being trained to commit murders as terrorists while the ladies were just ordinary people like housewives or students who took the exercises for their own excitement.

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