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Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 24 Jul 1999 to 25 Jul 1999

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There are 4 messages totalling 387 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

1. LA Times on Iranian demonstration in Los Angeles
2. Sydney Protest and rally
3. Studetns/ people will respond in the next elections
4. Khoeni-ha Convicted

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Date: Sun, 25 Jul 1999 13:13:32 -0700
From: "M. Parvin" <unplan@USA.NET>
Subject: LA Times on Iranian demonstration in Los Angeles

As a result of numerous protest calls, letters and faxes to LA times,
for not covering the Iranian demonstration in LA, this article appeared
in Sunday Times today. Persistence pays off .

M. Parvin

READERS' REPRESENTATIVE
Demonstration Should Have Been Covered
There are reasons--insufficient ones--that there was no
Times' story on the event
staged by Iranian Americans.
By NARDA ZACCHINO

Imagine more than 6,000 people demonstrating for
hours at the
Federal Building in Westwood, bullhorns blaring,
helicopters
swirling overhead, traffic jamming Wilshire
Boulevard--and no
story the next day in the Los Angeles Times.
That's what happened July 15, infuriating
scores of Iranian Americans
when they looked for coverage of the event, which
was staged to show
support for student protesters in Iran. Those
protests, reported in The Times,
began July 8 in Tehran and spread to 18 other
Iranian cities in six days. A
number of students were killed or injured, and
hundreds of arrested
protesters face death if convicted of charges.
With a Southern California Iranian population
estimated at more than
600,000, the largest in the world outside of Iran,
there is a lot of interest
here in this issue. And when thousands demonstrate
in support of students
in Iran, they expect to read about it in their
local newspaper.
The reason there wasn't coverage in The Times
was simple: We didn't
know about it in time. We should have. One
organizer said he called The
Times the day before the demonstration, got
transferred three times and was
finally told to send a fax. He said he sent three.
The city desk apparently
only received one, at 4:38 p.m. the day of the
event, saying 30,000 to
50,000 demonstrators were expected at the Federal
Building in Westwood
at 5 p.m. to protest the recent events in Iran.
City Editor Bill Boyarsky said a decision not
to send a reporter was
based in part on timing--it was rush hour, so a
reporter would not arrive, be
able to park and start reporting until well after
6 p.m., "and we didn't know
how long it would last." No reporter from The
Times' Westside office was
available.
A check of the daily "budget" listing news
events published by City
News Service didn't list the protest. CNS became
aware of the event by
monitoring television. A CNS reporter was sent to
the scene, and filed a
wire story at 8:14 p.m. The protest also was
covered by several local TV
and radio stations; no local non-Iranian print
media carried a story.
The Times should have covered the protest.
The Iranian students were
front page news, the Iranian community here is
huge and thousands of
drivers on Wilshire Boulevard whose trips were
disrupted deserved to know
what the ruckus was about.
In a program broadcast Wednesday over Radio
Voice of Iran, a
closed-circuit system with nearly 1 million
subscribers in Canada and the
U.S., Boyarsky apologized to the Iranian community
for The Times' not
covering the protest.
Missing this story led Iranian readers to
criticize other coverage of Iran,
which is, of course, of geopolitical importance to
America's interests. For
example, a story about student rioting in Iran did
not make The Times front
page until July 14 in a story datelined
Washington, D.C., written by Times
global affairs correspondent Robin Wright, author
of several books on Iran
and an acknowledged expert on that country.
Readers noted, however, that
the New York Times has a reporter filing stories
from Tehran. (The
government of Iran has denied visa requests for
Los Angeles Times
reporters to enter Iran.)
A July 16 demonstration of an estimated
12,000 people in Washington,
D.C.--although small by D.C. standards--was
reported by the Orange
County Register in a four-paragraph story. It was
not carrried at all by the
Los Angeles Times. Also, on the day of the
Westwood protest, The Times
ran a front-page photo and a story on Page A8 of a
rally in Tehran staged by
the Iranian government, leading some readers to
charge that the front-page
play of a "pro-Iran" story combined with no
coverage of the local rally
showed bias in favor of the Iranian government.
That certainly was not The
Times' intention.
Missing the Iranian protest story points out
how difficult it can be to let
us know when something of merit is happening.
Boyarsky, who gets at least
25 requests a day for coverage, doesn't want to
miss another meritorious
story. He suggests that if normal channels don't
work, make a call directly
to the city desk (213/237-7847) or send a fax
(213/237-4712) with a
follow-up call. You can also e-mail Boyarsky at
bill.boyarsky@latimes.com.
This incident offers a striking example of
why our newsrooms need to be
diverse. With a burgeoning Iranian population in
Southern California, a
reporter of Iranian descent who speaks Farsi and
who knows what is
happening in that community would be a huge asset.

The Times does have one Iranian reporter, a
Metro intern who said she
knew about the demonstration "from my mom." But
the intern thought
surely the city desk would know about it. Now she
is on high alert, but she
leaves at summer's end.
This situation brings back memories of 1965,
when rioting broke out in
Watts, and the virtually all-white city room
reporters broke out their
Thomas Bros. map books. No reporter at that time
knew the black
community, let alone had any sources there.
As we learned then, that's no way to run a
newspaper.

To reach the readers' representative, call
(877) 554-4000;
fax: (213) 237-3535; e-mail:
readers.rep@latimes.com; mail:
Times Mirror Square, L.A. 90053.

------------------------------

Date: Mon, 26 Jul 1999 11:00:23 +1000
From: Susan Ghaemi <s.ghaemi@UNSW.EDU.AU>
Subject: Sydney Protest and rally

Sydney, Australia
On Wednesday 28 July, 1998, the second demonstration to support the
students' democracy and freedom movement in Iran will be held at `12 noon
infront of Sydney Town Hall followed by march to UN office in 46 York
Street. Please show your support by attending.

Regards

Susan Ghaemi

------------------------------

Date: Sun, 25 Jul 1999 23:24:27 EDT
From: KPGBT@AOL.COM
Subject: Studetns/ people will respond in the next elections

By Mehrdad Balali

TEHRAN, July 25 (Reuters) - Iran's pro-democracy students, whose campaign
suffered a setback during recent street riots in Tehran, said on Sunday
they expected February's parliamentary elections to deliver a blow to
hardliners opposed to reforms.

``Our people are aware and have a good understanding of the (recent)
events. We are certain they will give a response to the anti-reform and
violence-prone faction at the voting polls for the next parliament,'' said
Iran's biggest student group, the Office to Consolidate Unity.

Iran's conservative-led parliament has contained President Mohammad
Khatami's liberal reforms. Reformers aim to make gains in the
parliamentary polls after winning strong support in this year's local
council elections.

``In harmony with the nation at large, we support with all our power the
president's programme for political development,'' the group said in a
resolution at a meeting about the student unrest which led to riots in
Tehran this month.

The riots followed a night assault by police and hardline vigilantes on a
Tehran University dormitory to crush a peaceful demonstration by students,
who were protesting against efforts to rein in the press.

Increasing press freedom has been a centrepiece of Khatami's
liberalisation programme since his 1997 election.

The student protests, which at first seemed set to boost Khatami's
position, degenerated into violence as young people expressed frustration
about the slow pace of change.

The Office to Consolidate Unity, which strongly backs Khatami, distanced
itself from the street rioters after the president criticised the
violence.

In its resolution, the student group blamed hardliners for the riots,
which conservatives have used to raise doubts about Khatami's reform
policies.

``Those who attacked the dormitory are the same as those involved in the
street riots. They have to be introduced to the people as soon as possible
and be subjected to legal action,'' it said.

``These events are the result of the effort of the conservative faction in
making use of all levers of pressure aimed at overthrowing (Khatami's)
populist government,'' it said.

The group repeated demands for action against police chief Hedayat
Lotfian, who they said was at best guilty of negligence over the assault
on the dormitory.

It also warned the Revolutionary Guards to avoid taking sides in the
dispute.

Some guard commanders criticised Khatami's handling of the unrest in a
letter leaked to the press, but the guards' top commander has since
pledged support for the president.

------------------------------

Date: Sun, 25 Jul 1999 22:42:29 -0700
From: Arash Alavi <aalavi@US.ORACLE.COM>
Subject: Khoeni-ha Convicted

Monday, July 26, 1999 Published at 05:28 GMT 06:28 UK

BBC
World: Middle East


Iran convicts reformist publisher


The jury of a special clerical court in Iran has found the
director of a leading reformist newspaper guilty on several
charges, including defamation and spreading false
information.

The newspaper, Salam, was banned
earlier this month after publishing
what it said was a secret intelligence
ministry memorandum revealing
moves to curtail the country's
pro-reform press.


The closure prompted a student
demonstration in Tehran, that in turn
led to riots that were seen as the most
serious challenge to the Islamist
authorities in Iran for 20 years.

The newspaper closure was part of
crackdown by Iranian hardliners
against liberal newspapers that have flourished under the
moderate reformist president, Mohammad Khatami.

The director of Salam, Musavi Khoeniha, was found guilty
of defaming the character of the ex-governor general of
Ardebil province, publishing insulting language and
misinforming the public, the official news agency IRNA
said.


The majority of the jury did
not consider the publisher of
the daily deserved a
commutation of sentence, it
added.

It said a final judgement on
the charges would be issued
within a statutory period.

The report gave no details on
the status of the ban on the
newspaper.

Our Middle East
Correspondent, Jim Muir, says
the proceedings of the
normally secretive special
clerical court in Tehran were
broadcast at length on national television - an example of
the transparency which is one of the watchwords of
President Khatami's presidency.

In his defence, Mr Khoeniha told the court that the
memorandum was genuine, and its publication had been
in the public interest.

"I am responsible for the material published in the
newspaper. However, one should see whether I had
personally written those things myself or not.

"I did not know anything about those things and I had not
read them," Iranian TV quoted him as saying.

'Bad choice of headline'

Prosecution witnesses included five MPs who alleged that
the publication of a letter on plans to restrict the activities
of reformist newspapers led to the recent unrest.

"The publication of a document classified as top secret,
the choice of a headline which did not tell the truth, the
deletion of the top and bottom of the letter and providing
wrong explanations are among the charges which, in our
view, cannot be dismissed," the prosecutor was quoted as
telling the court.

The prosecutor said the accused had been given a
suspended sentence in 1993, in which he was banned
from running the newspaper, on charges of "insulting and
traducing the people".

'Equal treatment for all'

In an earlier development, the directors of two
conservative Iranian newspapers were summoned to court
for publishing a secret letter by commanders of the
Revolutionary Guards criticising the handling of recent
student protests by President Mohammad Khatami.

The papers, Kayhan and Javan, were also accused by the
presidential office of violating the press code by printing a
confidential letter.

The letter from 24 senior Revolutionary Guard
commanders accused the president of leading the Islamic
Republic into "anarchy" and blamed him for the student
protests.

It was seen by supporters of President Khatami as a
warning of possible military intervention or coup.

"How long do we have to be subjected to this trial run of
democracy, which has turned into anarchy and puts the
Islamic regime at risk?" the letter said.

Supporters of Mr Khatami have urged the
conservative-dominated judiciary to prove its impartiality
by taking action against the two papers.

------------------------------

End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 24 Jul 1999 to 25 Jul 1999
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