AP: Iran Court Finds Reuters Journalist Guilty of ‘Spreading Lies’
Iran Court Finds Reuters Journalist Guilty of ‘Spreading Lies’
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
September 30, 2012
TEHRAN (AP) — A special media court on Sunday found the Tehran bureau chief of the Thomson Reuters news agency guilty of “spreading lies” against the Islamic system for a video script that briefly described a group of women involved in martial arts training as killers.
The state-owned news Web site YJC.ir quoted Ali Akbar Kasaeian, a spokesman for the court panel, as saying that the Reuters bureau chief, Parisa Hafezi, was convicted of propaganda-related offenses for a February video that initially carried a headline saying that the women were training as ninja “assassins.” Iran’s state Press TV also reported the court decision.
The Reuters headline was corrected, but it led to the suspension of the Reuters bureau in Tehran in March. Most of the Reuters staff members shifted to Dubai, but Ms. Hafezi, an Iranian citizen, was not allowed to leave Iran.
Barb Burg, a spokeswoman for Reuters, said: “We understand that the jury has stated its view and we now await the court’s ruling. We do not intend to comment further until a decision is issued.”
A sentence by the court is expected within a week. The media court rarely deals with international news outlets, but often issues rulings against domestic media for various violations with punishments including fines, closings or jail sentences.
Last week, the moderate newspaper Shargh was ordered shut over a caricature that hard-liners have interpreted as insulting to war veterans. In the past, Iranian authorities have revoked the credentials of the staff of foreign media or expelled foreign staff members over reporting deemed objectionable, like interviews with opposition figures.