The Committee to Protect Journalists has
joined two dozen human rights organizations in signing a letter
calling on all member states of the U.N. General Assembly Third Committee to
vote in favor Tuesday of resolution
A/C.3/68/L.57 on the promotion and protection of human rights in the
Islamic Republic of Iran.
After eight hellish years for Iran's journalists under
outgoing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the election of Hassan Rouhani was
welcomed with hope for a better future. As soon as he takes office in August,
he should act on his view and take steps to protect journalists in Iran.
Some authoritarian governments try to hide
their targeting of the press, but not the Islamic Republic of Iran. Officials
there brag about it. Ahead of Iran's presidential election Friday, they have
much to brag about.
Check out the full video of "Censorship and Power in Iran," a panel
discussion on imprisoned journalists in Iran that was held on May 8 at the School of Visual Arts in New York. The panel, featuring Iranian journalist Maziar Bahari and CPJ Executive Director Joel
Simon and moderated by political satirist Jon Stewart, was
followed by a lively Q&A.
Editorial cartoons play a principal role in every newspaper and magazine in Iran,
providing news, analysis, and satire in visual form. Since the presidential
elections in 2009, when Iranian authorities launched an intense crackdown
against journalists, civil society activists, and lawyers, many political
cartoonists began to leave Iran. Those who stayed have adjusted their work to
be more ambiguous, to communicate their message while attempting to
evade government censorship and arrests.
In late January, Iranian authorities waged the largest crackdown
on the press since 2009, detaining a wave of journalists and issuing arrest
warrants for numerous others. The Ministry of Intelligence accused
the journalists of conspiring with foreign media to repeat the alleged
"sedition" of 2009, referring to electoral fraud exposed by the media
and the protests that followed. In response to the arrests, IranWire, a project
led by our colleague Maziar
Bahari, produced this video calling for the journalists' release.
Iran has maintained a revolving-door policy for imprisoning
journalists, freeing some detainees on furloughs even as new arrests are made.
In its December 2012 prison
census, CPJ found that Iran was the world's second-worst jailer of
journalists, with 45 journalists imprisoned in reprisal for their work. The
threat of imprisonment has led scores of Iranian journalists to flee into exile in recent years.
An increase in press freedom violations last year created a
surge of need among journalists, driving a record number of assistance cases
for CPJ's Journalist Assistance
Program in 2012. More than three-quarters of the 195 journalists who
received support during the year came from East
Africa and the Middle East and North
Africa, reflecting the challenges--including threats of violence and
imprisonment--of working in these repressive regions. Here are some of the highlights
of our work over the last year:
China didn't make the cut for our 10 most censored countries. While the Chinese
Communist Party's censorship
apparatus is notorious, journalists and Internet users work hard to overcome
the restrictions. Nations like Eritrea and North Korea lack that dynamism.