Wednesday, April 06, 2005

BBC: Majlis Conservatives Ban Parliamentary Reporter Who Embarrasses Them

BBC NEWS | Middle East | Iran bans parliamentary reporter: "Iran bans parliamentary reporter
By Sadeq Saba
BBC Iranian analyst

Reformist MPs often clash with conservatives in Iran's parliament
The conservative-controlled parliament in Iran has barred an investigative journalist from its premises after revealing MPs' huge pay and bonuses.
Iran's independent press association accused the chamber of censorship.

The journalist, Massih Ali-Nejad, works for an Iranian news agency, ILNA, and a reformist paper, Hambastaghi.

Iran's conservative MPs were elected on a platform of piety and rejection of materialism, promising to cut their salaries and bonuses.

But they were hugely embarrassed when Massih Ali-Nejad published a series of articles revealing how the MPs had actually increased their pay and received big sums of money from conservative-controlled organisations.

Revelations

The furious MPs accused her of stealing their pay slips and voted to bar her from the parliament building.

But a deputy belonging to the minority reformist faction came to her defence by confirming that he had provided the journalist with documents about the MPs' pay in order to expose the hypocrisy among the conservatives.

The deputy speaker of parliament said the action against the journalist was taken not for her writings but because she was "rude and intrusive".

The journalist's editor at the Hamasteghi daily said the deputies were angry because they did not like revelations about behaviour contrary to their slogans.

Iranian journalists have accused the parliament of censorship and demanded she be allowed to resume her work as a parliamentary reporter."