Iran expels AFP reporter for covering protests

Jay Deshmukh, an Indian national who was deputy of the AFP bureau in Tehran, had apparently tried, together with his assistant, to cover a protest gathering Feb 15 despite an official ban.

The 40-year-old Deshmukh had been working for the AFP in Tehran since 2009.

Dozens of reporters and photographers from the foreign media are said to have lost their accreditation for having tried to cover last month's protest demonstrations.

Restrictions on local and foreign media in Iran have drastically increased following protests against alleged fraud in the June 2009 presidential election, which saw Mahmoud Ahmadinejad re-elected.

Since July 2009, the foreign media has officially been banned by the foreign press department of the culture ministry from directly covering the protests and contacting opposition figures.

Any violation of the ban would lead to prohibition from work or even expulsion.

The Iranian judiciary last month established a special prosecution office for offences related to media.

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