IFJ Urges Iran to Release Detained Journalists

The International Federation of

Journalists (IFJ) today renewed its call to Iranian

authorities to release up to thirty journalists, including the General

Secretary of the Association of Iranian

Journalists (AoIJ), an IFJ affiliate, who are still detained following a

massive media clampdown in the wake of the controversial presidential election

of June last year. The call came ahead of the celebrations of Iran's

New Year which are taking place on 21st March.

"We demand the release of all

journalists whose continued detention has only served to show the country'

intolerance of democratic debate," said Aidan White,

IFJ General Secretary. "The New Year should usher in a new chapter in the

relations between media and Government which excludes threats and repression."

According to the AoIJ, up to 30

journalists remain in detention including its General Secretary, Mofidi

Badrossadat, who was arrested at the end of last year. The authorities also closed

the AOIJ office in early August 2009, without giving any reason

for the measure.

The IFJ says that the majority of

detained journalists have never been charged since their arrests, proving that

the Government acted solely to suppress independent reporting of the political

crisis which exposed the level and strength of opposition to the regime

following the dispute of June 2009. A number of newspapers have also been shut

down and internet sites blocked in a forlorn attempt to prevent information

from reaching the outside world.

"The Government's actions have

counterproductive and detrimental to its best interests," added White. "

Locking up journalists cannot guarantee news blackout in the digital world. The

media void is likely to be filled with less professional, biased information


For more information contact the IFJ

at   +32 2 235 2207

The IFJ represents over

600,000 journalists in 125 countries worldwide