IFJ Slams Iran over Jail Term for Leading Journalist

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today accused Iranian

authorities of a continuing and unrelenting campaign of intimidation against

media after a court condemned leading journalist and author Emad Baghi to a six-year

suspended jail term.

The sentence, in response to an interview he conducted for the BBC's

Persian service TV channel in 2007, was described as "punitive and

absurd in equal measure" by the IFJ which says Iran must end its targeting of

journalists.

"The sentence is completely unjustified and demonstrates only that the

Tehran regime remains focused on making life difficult for independent and

dissident voices in journalism," said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. "Journalists

must be allowed to seek the opinions of all sides in society, including those

who may disagree with the government."

Baghi who remains free pending his appeal, was according to local reports

convicted of "engaging in propaganda against the Islamic system." He was

arrested in December last year after his interview with Grand Ayatollah Hoseyn

Ali Montazeri in 2007 was re-broadcast by the BBC in December 2009 following the cleric's

death.

The journalist who is also a human rights activist was released on bail in

June but was convicted the following month of endangering national security in

relation to his work defending prisoners' rights. He received a one year jail

term and was banned from political activities for five years. The sentence was

upheld by an appeal court early in the week, reports say.

Last month, Badressadat

Mofidi, General Secretary of the Association of Iranian Journalists (AoIJ), an

IFJ affiliate, was also sentenced to six years in prison for conspiracy to commit crime

and propaganda against the Islamic regime.

The IFJ says the

Iranian regime's suppression of independent media in the country has led to the

jailing of journalists on trumped up charges. Some journalists have fled to

neighbouring countries and further beyond to seek political refuge.

The Federation is

working with its affiliates across the globe, especially in Turkey with the Türkiye

Gazeteciler Sendikasi (TGS), and in Denmark with the Danish Union of

Journalists to provide humanitarian assistance to Iranian colleagues forced

into exile.

"The persecution of

our colleagues in Iran is countered by solidarity from the global journalists'

community," added Aidan. "We are committed to defending all of our colleagues

and we will not rest until all detained journalists in Iran are free and those in

exile can return home."

For more information, please contact IFJ on +

32 2 235 22 07

The IFJ represents more than

600.000 journalists in 125 countries