chapter  5
14 Pages

The second ‘Spring of Freedom’ (1997–2000)

During President Khatami’s first year in office the number of publications rose to more than 850, with the total circulation exceeding two million copies a day;1 the Association of Iranian Journalists was established (September 1997);2 and there were changes in the make-up of the press jury (Table 5.1)3 that resulted in more decisions in favour of journalists, in trials some of which were shown on television, very late at night, but with big audiences.4 The new Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance, Ataollah Mohajerani, made a point of personally attending the meetings of the Press Supervisory Board, the body dealing with applications for new papers.5 Early into its operation, the new Board awarded licences to two dailies, Jameah (Society) and Zan (Woman),6 both of which were innovations in post-revolutionary Iranian journalism and early participants in what was going to be a long and escalating confrontation between the Iranian judiciary and the press.