Hossein Entezami, the deputy minister of culture and Islamic guidance in charge of media affairs, was the first person to announce back in 2013 that the Rouhani administration was trying to put together a media guild. Since 2004, as a representative of the managing directors of Iranian publication houses, Entezami has been a member of the Press Supervisory Board that was formed in 2000 under the provisions of the press law and is headed by the minister of culture and Islamic guidance himself.
On Nov. 3, in response to the wave of criticisms, Entezami wrote an editorial that was published on the administration’s website. It read: “An administration whose goal is to promote the freedom of speech and particularly the freedom of the press — and which believes that media, next to food and arms, is the third pillar of national security — will, logically, not violate its own goals and will not pass bills that damage the very thing that functions as an impetus for national progress.”
Every year, Reporters Without Borders publishes an annual ranking of press freedom around the world. This year, Iran was ranked 165 among 180 countries in the world. This was an improvement by four points compared to the previous year. Yet, the organization noted, “this better ranking for Iran does not mean that the country has experienced any serious improvement when it comes to press freedom. Instead, it is the result of other countries degenerating. Iran has continued to be one of the world’s five biggest prisons for media activists.”