The International Federation
of Journalists (IFJ) today warned that a massive attack on independent media in
which has seen the jailing of journalists and a continuing crackdown on
free expression reveals the desperation of the regime to curb democracy.
"The rulers of Iran
appear determined to stifle dissent and to isolate its people from the outside
world," said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. "It's a
desperate but futile attempt to turn the clock back."
to reports, the head of Iran's judiciary,
Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi-Shahroudi, has
said in a memo to judges that measures are needed to contain the growing
criticism of the government in the independent media. He reportedly singled out
websites and satellites channels and called for prosecution of any person who
cooperates with them.
IFJ has repeatedly criticised Iranian
authorities for their heavy handed way in suppressing independent reporting of
the unprecedented show of opposition to the regime following the controversial
re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last month. The government
expelled foreign correspondents and attempted to jam broadcasts of
international channels and to block websites.
of Iranian journalists have also
been arrested, while others went into hiding to evade arrest. According to the Association
of Iranian Journalists (AoIJ), an
IFJ affiliate, there are still 20 journalists in detention.
The AoIJ on 2 July cancelled
under pressure from the Iranian
authorities a meeting which had been called to condemn the arrests of their
colleagues and expressed their solidarity.
must not turn its back on democracy and free expression," added White. "Without
debate and free speech there will be no reform, no development, no future prosperity. That may be what extremists
want, but it is not the will of the people."
For more information,
contact + 32 2 235 22 07
The IFJ represents over
600,000 journalists in 123 countries worldwide