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Iranian journalists face jail, raids, legal threats, says CPJ

Human rights 2024-02-02, 11:52am

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Iranian guards at a jail.



The Torch is a weekly newsletter from the Committee to Protect Journalists that brings you the latest press freedom and journalist safety news from around the world. Get this newsletter sent directly to your email by subscribing here.

CPJ is closely monitoring what is becoming an epidemic of arrests and legal threats against journalists in Iran. In the last two months, we have documented over a dozen jailings, sentencings, lawsuits, and raids on journalists’ homes in the country.

These arrests show that “Iranian authorities are desperate to silence their critics,” said CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Sherif Mansour, later adding, “This trend is resulting in the criminalization of all forms of journalism.”

And while we were relieved to see that Niloofar Hamedi and Elahe Mohammadi were granted bail while they await the outcome of appeals against their lengthy jail sentences, they are not yet free. Following a 16-month incarceration, they paid exceptionally high bails of 10 billion tomans—the equivalent of almost US$200,000—and have been banned from leaving the country.

Iran has long ranked as one of the world’s worst jailers of journalists in CPJ’s annual prison census, which documents those behind bars as of December 1 in a given year. Overall, authorities are known to have detained at least 95 journalists in the wake of the nationwide protests following the death in morality-police custody of a 22-year-old woman, Mahsa Amini.

Authorities must realize that jailing journalists and critical voices won’t help them hide Iran’s difficult realities and end this intimidation and harassment of Iranian journalists.

 Separately this week, CPJ is proud to announce that we were awarded a bronze medal at the 2024 Anthem Awards for our series of four videos of our 2022 International Press Freedom Award honorees—Abraham Jiménez Enoa (Cuba), Niyaz Abdullah (Iraqi Kurdistan), Sevgil Musaieva (Ukraine), and Pham Doan Trang (Vietnam).

Pham Doan Trang is still imprisoned in Vietnam, serving a nine-year sentence after being convicted in a one-day trial in 2021. Join CPJ in our call to #FreeTrang on X by clicking here.

Global press freedom updates

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As of February 1, CPJ has documented 85 journalists and media workers killed while covering the Israel-Gaza war.

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Rwandan journalist Dieudonné Niyonsenga says he was beaten, detained in “hole” for three years

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CPJ presents joint report on declining press freedom in Greece

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CPJ condemns acquittal of suspected organizer of 1992 murder of Polish journalist Jarosław Ziętara.

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Belarusian court sentences photojournalist Aliaksandr Ziankou to three years on extremism charges.

Canadian-Palestinian journalist disappears in Gaza; reports allege eyewitnesses saw IDF arrest