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Reinstating Suspended Publishers: Transparent Promise, Ambiguous Performance

Reinstating the suspended publishes of Ahmadinejad era has been one of the demands of the publishers’ union. Following the victory of Hassan Rouhani in June 2013 presidential election, publishers union and booksellers in Tehran sent a letter to the president and asked him to “remove the restrictions that had been imposed on the suspended publishers and those that their licenses had been revoked”.  In their letter, they had also asked him to “eliminate the barriers that had banned the publishing houses to take part in Tehran Book Fair”.

The “suspended publishers” is a term referred to a number of publishing houses in which their licenses to publish books were either suspended or canceled by the time Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance headed by Mohammad Saffar Harandi and Mohammad Hosseini. Some were even banned from participating in the publishing exhibitions, especially Tehran Book Fair.

At the time, the minister had expressed hope that the so-called “suspended publishers” would be able to take part in the exhibition, unless they have fundamental problems in their files. During the first few weeks of his post as the new Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance, he had promised to review and possibly reinstate or reissue the operating licenses of the banned publishing companies.

It is worth mentioning that a number of the suspended publishing houses are among the well-known and popular publishers that had long been active in different fields of human sciences and were publishing novels, poetry, short stories, history books, etc.

In his recent interview with Farhikhtegan newspaper, Mr. Jannati had boasted his efforts to reinstate the suspended publishers as most successful performances of his 7-month term as the Minister.

President Rouhani has stressed on opening and implementing change in the cultural policies, Ali Jannati, Minister of Culture and the Islamic Guidance has also repeatedly promised to reinstate permissions for the suspended publishers or reissue for those licenses that had been annulled during Ahmadinejad’s government. Recent changes within the arena of books and publishing has led RouhaniMeter the research team in the RouhaniMeter is subsequently changing this promise to “in progress”.

The research team however stresses that monitoring Hassan Rouhani’s government and its Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance in regards to this specific promise is still ongoing.

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