The Iranian regime has waged its most intensive campaign against freedom of expression since the disputed presidential election of 2009.
Over the past several weeks, the Iranian regime has waged its most intensive campaign against freedom of expression since the disputed presidential election of 2009. More than 17 journalists have been arrested by security forces since the end of January.
The Ministry of Intelligence said the journalists, who work for a variety of media outlets, are conspiring with “foreign and anti-Revolutionary elements” outside Iran. The ministry said there could be more arrests in the future.
Human rights monitors, including United Nations rapporteurs, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the Committee to Protect Journalists, have denounced the arrests of the journalists. The four UN human rights experts said in a statement, “The recent wave of arrests of journalists solely for carrying out their professional activities is a flagrant violation of Iran’s obligations under international human rights law.”
State Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland called the charges against the journalists “spurious” and said the United States was “deeply troubled” by the arrests.
“Such actions are clearly meant to stifle free expression, limit political debate and close off the flow of information in advance of Iran’s June presidential elections. Iran’s attempts to suppress the ideas and the desires of their own people are not going to make those demands and desires disappear.”
The stepped up persecution of journalists comes as the Iranian regime continues its wider campaign to choke off the transmission of information to and by the Iranian people in other ways: including by blocking websites, monitoring internet use, and jamming foreign broadcasts.
Spokesperson Nuland called on Iranian authorities to release the journalists who have been arrested “and respect their country’s own laws and their citizens’ right to free expression.”