The Iranian Government and the Naked Ballerina
Institute for War and Peace Reporting / Sahar Sepehri
24-Feb-2010

An Iranian newspaper with a record of needling the regime has been forced to change its masthead because it was seen as depicting a naked ballerina, even though it was a stylised version of the title’s name in Persian calligraphy.
The reaction appears to reflect a heightened sensitivity on the part of the government to the slightest hint of a challenge since the disputed re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last June and the rise of an opposition that claims the poll was fraudulent.
Action was taken against the newspaper Tehran Emrooz (Tehran Today) by Mohammad Ali Ramin, the associate minister of culture and Islamic guidance and one of Ahmadinejad’s close advisers. Ramin issued a statement telling the newspaper to change its logo and accusing it of being part of a “soft war” against the regime.
The masthead depicted the name of the newspaper in white calligraphy on a blue background but designed to represent a dancing figure. Iranian officials said the logo resembled a “naked ballerina”. A slightly amended version on the print version of the title looks less like a human figure but its website http://tehrooz.com was still showing the offending version several weeks after the complaint.
Tehran Emrooz was in trouble in June 2008 when the Tehran public prosecutor banned it for “publishing articles and images insulting President Ahmadinejad”. The newspap... >>>

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