The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today condemned
the Iranian authorities for ordering
foreign news media to stay in their offices ahead of yesterday's university
demonstrations marking Iran's National
Student Day. This latest restriction on media comes days after Saeed
Laylaz, editor of Sarmayeh newspaper, and Hengameh Shahidi, reporter for
E'temad-e-Melli, received lengthy jail sentences for ‘fomenting unrest'.
"The attempted news blackout and sentencing of journalists are
part of a pattern of systematic intimidation of media," said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. "Journalists are
being victimised as the Government faces public anger over its actions after the elections."
According to media reports, the government took these draconian
measures ahead of the planned demonstration in an attempt to limit news
coverage. Restrictions were also imposed on internet sites and mobile phone
networks used in sending messages and videos of previous anti government
rallies to the outside world.
The IFJ says the crackdown on media which started after the
controversial presidential elections in June shows no sign of let up.
Last week, Saeed Laylaz, editor of Sarmayeh newspaper which has been banned by the authorities, was
given a nine-year jail term last Wednesday for "fomenting unrest" after the
June elections while Hengameh Shahidi, a female reporter for E'temad-e-Melli, a reformist newspaper
was jailed for six years and three months on Monday.
Shahidi is among several women journalists who have been detained
during the media clampdown including Fariba Pajooh, who was arrested on 22
August but has not been charged of any crime, reports say. Over 50 journalists
were arrested at the height of the demonstrations and over 20 remain in jail.
Meanwhile the office of the Association of Iranian
Journalists, an affiliate of the IFJ, remains locked having been closed by the
authorities in September.
"The government's drive to censor independent reporting has
failed," added White. "It is high time that the regime stops interfering in
media affairs in the interest of democracy."
information contact the IFJ at
+32 2 235 2207
The IFJ represents over
600,000 journalists in 125 countries worldwide