Tuesday 03 May 2011

Reporters Without Borders: Iran 'predator' of press freedom

The Paris-based media advocacy group Reporters Without Borders has included Iran in its annual list of countries it considers as “predators” of press freedom, including political leaders, criminal organisations and militias from across the world.

According to the group, as Iran's Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei “is responsible for the continuing crackdown on journalists and others” since the rigged presidential election of 2009 which won Ahmadinejad a second term in office. “His virulent and inflammatory criticism of media with international links has fuelled the rage of government bodies carrying out the repression. He explicitly agreed to the judicial system staging show trials of journalists in August 2009 and January 2010 and giving journalists and bloggers heavy prison terms and sometimes death sentences. The Revolutionary Guards, commanded by Khamenei, control Teheran’s Evin prison so he is directly responsible for the torture and other abuses of journalists and bloggers jailed there.”

The media watchdog “accuses Khamenei of crimes against humanity,” adding that Ahmadinejad is “directly responsible for this crackdown, which he organises with the ministries of intelligence, culture and Islamic guidance and the Revolutionary Guards.”

“He also closely supervises the list of journalists to be arbitrarily arrested. A score of media outlets have been shut down by the culture ministry’s censorship arm, the Press Authorisation and Surveillance Commission. The government hounds journalists and their families, makes summary arrests and uses secret imprisonment to silence its critics.”

The group also accuses Ahmadinejad and Khamenei of being “the architects of a relentless crackdown marked by Stalinist-style trials of opposition politicians, journalists and human rights activists.”

“More than 200 journalists and bloggers have been arrested since June 2009, 40 are still held and around 100 have had to flee the country. An estimated 3,000 journalists are currently out of work because their newspapers have been closed down or have been banned from rehiring them.”

Reporters Without Borders also called for “a special human rights rapporteur to be sent to Iran as a matter of urgency, in line with the resolution adopted by the United Nations Human Rights Council on 24 March.”

“Reporters Without Borders continues to closely monitor China and Iran, two countries that devour their journalists.”

GVF




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