Iran: IFJ hosts meeting on security threats to Iranian journalists working abroad

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today hosted a special meeting with Iranian journalists working abroad to develop a plan of action to address the regime’s threats and harassment against them.

Credits: IFJ

The IFJ pledged its full support to standing up for Iranian journalists and working with its affiliates to protect them and their freedom to report.

The Islamic Republic of Iran’s security forces and judiciary have renewed pressure and threats on the Iranian journalists that are based and work for international media outside Iran.
 
More than 20 Iranian journalists working for Persian media such as Iran International, BBC Persian, Deutsche Welle or Radio Farda gathered today at the IFJ's Brussels headquarters. In powerful testimonies journalists from across Europe and by video from the US exposed the threats against family members currently living in Iran, organised and targeted online campaigns to discredit them (which are often gender-based), blackmail to force them to stop reporting, the freezing of assets, blocking of any economic activity in Iran and physical threats to their security, among others.

Some had been threatened with being kidnapped and forcibly returned to Iran. Others reported ill relatives being unable to access medical care because the asset freeze had meant they could not sell their home to buy medicines and treatment.

Journalists also denounced statements from Iranian embassies in European counties who have taken part in campaigns to discredit and threaten journalists and have blocked their access to events and public spaces.

Participants identified the threats and harassment on their family members living in Iran as one of the most common practices of the regime to force them to stop reporting.

A journalist of a Persian TV channel based in Europe said: “The security forces recently called my parents, summoned them, and asked them to convince me to stop my career here.” 

Kambiz Hoseini, an Iranian journalist and comedian based in the United States, related the strong online harassment he has suffered during the last years: “From the first day I started working I’ve been threatened and blackmailed. They warned me regularly that I must stop speaking about the Islamic Republic leader and that if I did not do it they will kill me (…) One day I received a message from a user account saying « I am going to locate your place, catch you, and cut off your penis and send it to Barack Obama ». This person gave me details about my home address and a description of the interior design of my house.”

IFJ Deputy General Secretary, Jeremy Dear, said: "These human rights abuses represent the collective punishment of hundreds of journalists and their families. The international community cannot remain silent in the face of such abuses - they must use their collective pressure to demand an end to the harassment.  Working alongside our national affiliates we will raise our voice and step up our campaign".