A Statement From Imprisoned Iranian Journalists on Reporter’s Day
HRANA News Agency – A group of Iranian journalists and political activists have issued a statement from Evin and Rajai-Shahr prisons to commemorate Reporter’s Day observed in Iran on August 8th. The signatories have condemned the oppression and censorship of journalists and press and have demanded freedom of speech, the release of all imprisoned journalists and the establishment of proper environment for an independent press to function in a free society.
The full text of this statement released by Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) is as follows:
The Islamic Republic of Iran continues to insist on the fact that the country must remain the largest prison in the world for journalists and the biggest violator of civil liberties including freedom of speech, expression and press. The Iranian government which was transformed into a police state after the coup d’état of June 2009 has made every effort to limit the free flow of information and the activities of independent journalists by detaining and prosecuting dozens of them throughout the country. Accordingly, more than thirty journalists are now behind bars in various detention centers in Iran while other reporters summoned to court remain free on bail and await trials outside prisons. In addition, there are journalists who have been forced to abandon their profession forever or leave the country altogether because of the prevailing brutal oppression.
The plight of freedom of expression and press in Iran especially after the coup d’état of June 2009 is so obvious that it doesn’t require an explanation such that as a direct result of current conditions, self-censorship of Iranian media has rendered it ineffective and worthless. In recent years, journalists have been sentenced to a total of more than 150 years in prison during show trials held by military courts disguised under the name of revolutionary courts. Such an unprecedented phenomenon has never been seen anywhere in the world.
At the present time, it is neither rare nor uncommon in Iran for journalists to receive prison terms ranging from 5 to 7 years while there are a multitude of others who have been sentenced to more than 10 years in prison for simply doing their jobs. Media activists throughout the world together with human rights defenders and independent journalists have condemned placing Mir-Hussein Mousavi and Mehdi Karoubi under complete house arrest and denounced the restrictions imposed on the editors of Kaleme and Etemade-e Meli newspapers. Meanwhile, efforts to end the imprisonment of these two public figures have become the cornerstone and the symbolism of all acts through which civil liberties including freedom of expression and press may be restored in Iran.
We, the undersigned, condemn the oppression and censorship of journalists and press and demand civil liberties above all freedom of speech, the release of all imprisoned journalists and the establishment of proper environment for an independent press to function in a free society. In this regard, we request the help and support of all human rights activists and advocates of civil rights throughout the world.
Ali Asghar Seyed-Abadi
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