IFJ Presses President-Elect in Iran on Journalists' Union Closure

The International Federation of Journalists( IFJ) today called on Iran's President - elect Hassan Rohani to make good on the promises he made after clinching the presidency in last week' s poll.

At his first press conference on Monday, President-elect Rohani was asked about the closure of the office of the Association of Iranian Journalists( AoIJ), an IFJ affiliate. He replied that "guilds and associations are the best ways to run social affairs of the society."

The IFJ reacted by writing to the new leader, welcoming his new approach to civil liberties , especially journalists' rights.

"We welcome your response regarding the Association of Iranian Journalists closed down since 2009," said the letter signed by IFJ President Jim Boumelha. "Your view has been applauded throughout the global community of journalists worldwide."

The IFJ reminded him of missed opportunities in the past when all appeals to the Iranian authorities for an end to violations of journalists' rights, including intimidation of journalists and their families, censorship as well as the blocking of websites and bans on reporting issues of public interest, fell on deaf ears.

In particular, the Federation referred to the situation of dozens of journalists who languish in Iranian prisons where they are subjected to inhuman treatment ranging from flogging, solitary confinement and denial of hospital and family visits.

The IFJ expressed its hopes that the President-elect's public declarations signal a change from the hostile attitude against independent media of the outgoing administration.

"Your words of ‘new opportunities ‘and ‘constructive interaction' and your emphasis on ‘Iranian people bringing back hope throughout their turnout and participation' ring true," added Boumelha. "However, they will have a fuller meaning if you re-open the space for free journalism by ordering the lifting of the close of the Association and release journalists in jail."

As part of its campaign for the re-opening of the AoIJ office in Tehran, the IFJ is taking part in two events on Iran. The first is a round table discussion to be held at the European Parliament on 25 June 2013 about the ‘Future for Freedom of Expression and Independent media in Iran.' In early July, there will be another  meeting at the House of Commons in London, also discussing Iran.

For more information, please contact IFJ on + 32 2 235 22 07
The IFJ represents more than 600.000 journalists in 134 countries