IFJ Condemns News Blackout over Tehran Protests after Two Journalists Jailed

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."

For more

information contact the IFJ at

  +32 2 235 2207       

The IFJ represents over

600,000 journalists in 125 countries worldwide