He said that so far 2,622 people have applied for setting up their own dailies or periodicals in the past Iranian year while the figure was only 591 in 1997.
According to the minister, 746 permits have been issued for setting up new publications in 2003 as compared with 281 in 1997.
He further explained only 20 percent of the press were currently run by state-owned sectors.
Only four publications stopped publishing in the past Iranian year (endedMarch 19), he said adding that the figure showed a remarkable drop in contrast with the preceding years.
Masjed-Jamei further noted that by early 2004, a total of 103 foreign media and press had their representative offices in Iran which exceeds the number predicted in earlier planning.
He also explained that the growth in quantity and quality of press and media in country took place despite the decreasing assistance of the government which paid only dlrs 24.19 million to the ministry for press affairs in past year.
The minister referred to shortage of paper as the most basic problem facing the press.
... Payvand News - 11/4/04 ... --