In recent years, news agencies critical of Iran's government and its policies have come under attack by the country's hard-line clerics. A total of 85 newspapers have been shut down in Iran since April 2000, and more than 1,800 journalists and photographers have lost their jobs. In 2002 alone, Iran's hard-liners closed 18 papers.
In 1999, the closure of Salam, a reformist newspaper, triggered fierce student protest at Tehran University that soon spread to other campuses in 22 cities. The clerical regime responded by sending police and armed militia to crack down on the uprising.
Iran is "the biggest prison for journalists in the Middle East," according to Reporters Without Borders. Although fewer Iranian journalists were arrested in 2002 than the year before, 10 were still in prison at the end of 2002, serving sentences ranging from three to eight years.
Iranian citizens have created more than 10,000 Weblogs, or blogs, frequently-updated and chronologically-ordered online journals, to communicate with each other about issues both personal -- including dating and sex -- and political -- including political criticism and accounts of student protests.