Iran: new attacks by authorities on journalism

The International Federation of Journalists has called for a halt to the “relentless attack by Iranian authorities on journalism” following new legal threats against an Iranian newspaper. The daily Ghanoon and its editor in chief are facing legal action over an article critical of conditions at a Tehran detention facility. A senior prosecutor described the article, which was based on testimony from a prisoner, as a “lie” which created public feelings of “hopelessness””. But the IFJ hit out at the attack which is part of a concerted attack on independent media and intimidation of journalists in the country. Delegates to the IFJ’s World Congress earlier this month called for the release of five journalists detained in November 2015, without charge. Afarin Chetsaz was jailed 10 years, Ehsan Mazanderani 7 years, Davood Asadi 5 years and Saman Safarzaei 5 years. One of the five journalists, Isa Saharkhiz, is in hospital and another, Ehsan Mazanderani, is on hunger strike in the prison to protest against the charges. IFJ President Philippe Leruth said: “Despite promises by the new president to improve media freedoms and re-establish a climate of trust and democratic debate, the headquarters of the Association of Iranian Journalists (AoIJ) remain closed, journalists are imprisoned, media attacked and legal threats and intimidation are being used to silence independent voices. We stand in solidarity with Iranian journalists and call on the authorities to put an end to the media crackdown, release the jailed journalists and reopen the office of the Association of Iranian Journalists.”

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