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Iran bans live election debates

Published Apr 20, 2017 08:17pm


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Iran's interior ministry said Thursday there would be no live debates in the run-up to next month's presidential election.

"Based on a decision by the Election Campaign Monitoring Commission, the election debates of the candidates will be broadcast pre-recorded," said ministry spokesman Seyed Salman Samani.

The commission also released guidelines for the debates, telling candidates they are not allowed to "blacken the image of the country... or the actions of the executive, administrative, legislative or judicial bodies".

Live debates have been a hugely popular feature of the last two elections in 2009 and 2013, with many analysts saying President Hassan Rouhani's performance was key to his surprise victory last time.

The decision was criticised by one conservative candidate, Alireza Zakani, who said it would "seriously damage transparency".

The decision appeared to come as a surprise to state broadcaster IRIB, whose deputy head Morteza Mir Bagheri had earlier described the live debates as "the most popular programmes" on the station, and the "best way for people to get to know the candidates".

The heated TV debates in 2009 between the then hardline president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his reformist opponents fired up the electorate and were seen as partly responsible for the post-election unrest that occurred when Ahmadinejad was re-elected amid allegations of vote-rigging.

More than 1,600 people have signed up to run in the election on May 19.

That number will be whittled down by the conservative-dominated Guardian Council in the coming days, with around half-a-dozen candidates normally permitted to stand.


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Comments (8) Closed

Ahmed bin Babar Apr 20, 2017 08:28pm

Confession for being theocratic not democratic...

Aly Alp-Ercelan Apr 20, 2017 08:33pm

All TV broadcasts by or about candidates should be banned? Virtual Democracy is no contribution to substantive Democracy

sodawaterbottleopenerwala Apr 20, 2017 08:53pm

@Aly Alp-Ercelan , Media provides us the much needed information in real time .there is a reason why media broadcasting election forecasts are legitimately viable is a PILLAR of democracy as is said by wise ones.

Kabir Apr 20, 2017 08:59pm

@sodawaterbottleopenerwala "Media provides us the much needed information in real time" if it is information not disinformation and goes both ways that's why you cannot say that there will be no democracy without electronic media UK and USA have been democracy for over two hundred years when there was no electronic media it is the culture of the nation which defines either the society is democratic or not otherwise we have very open media for more than 11 years

Marata Apr 20, 2017 11:28pm

Why you r banning the live debates? it is the modern world and you have to show to the world that our election process is transparent. Media will aware the public as well as the whole world

Qaiser Apr 21, 2017 01:25am

Very good decision .

Qaiser Apr 21, 2017 01:27am

@Ahmed bin Babar if you understand theocracy you would understand democracy.

Ahmed bin Babar Apr 21, 2017 04:48pm

@Qaiser How come one party state claims to be democratic..?