Saturday, December 12, 2009

Iran's Brutal Crackdown on Journalists Continuing

Reporters sans frontières reported today that six months after Iran’s disputed June 12 presidential election, the news and information are still being sensored by authorities, and journalists are being persecuted at a frightening rate.

More than 100 journalists have been arrested since the election and about 50 have fled into exile. A dozen newspapers have been closed by the authorities and access to thousands of Internet pages has been blocked, the advocacy agency said.

Within hours of the announcement of President Mahmoud Ahmadinedjad’s election “victory,” journalists were being arrested by the intelligence ministry, Revolutionary Guards and other security services. Most were taken to Tehran’s Evin prison. At least 100 journalists and bloggers have been arrested since 12 June and 27 are still being held. Iran is one of the world’s five biggest prisons for journalists.

Like Chile’s national stadium in Santiago after the 1973 military coup, Evin prison has been turned into a massive holding centre for political detainees, most of whom are mistreated and subject to considerable psychological harassment.

Some journalists have been freed in exchange for the payment of exorbitant sums in bail, after being given prison sentences ranging from five to nine years. Others have been released pending trial.

Meanwhile, journalists continue to be harassed in the major provincial cities such as Mashhad, Isfahan, Shiraz and Tabriz, where they are often summoned, interrogated and threatened.

Give the report a read. Our biggest problem in the United States is keeping our jobs. Journalists in Iran are fighting for their lives.

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