‘Our Society Will Be a Free Society’ launches petition

New York, March 1, 2010—In response to the brutal crackdown against journalists, writers, and bloggers in Iran, a coalition of leading press freedom and free expression groups have launched a petition drive calling for the release of those imprisoned. More such professionals are now in prison in Iran than in any other country in the world—at least 60, 47 of them journalists.

“I know my jailers in Iran were aware of the depth of international concern,” said Newsweek correspondent Maziar Bahari, who was jailed for 118 days in Iran. “We need to raise a similar outcry on behalf of the more than 60 journalists, writers, and bloggers jailed there today. Adding your name to this petition will help us deliver the message that people around the world are watching.”

The “Our Society Will Be a Free Society” campaign—a reference to a pledge made by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini on the eve of the 1979 Revolution—is gathering signatures for an online petition to be sent to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on March 20, the Iranian New Year.

To sign the petition, visit the campaign Web site www.oursocietywillbeafreesociety.org or access our page on Facebook.

“The Iranian government is counting on the world to forget about the journalists and writers who have been imprisoned under cruel conditions,” said Joel Simon, executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists. “We can’t allow that to happen.”

The Committee to Protect Journalists, PEN, Reporters Sans Frontières, Index on Censorship, Canadian Journalists for Free Expression, the International Federation of Journalists, Article 19, the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers, and the International Publishers Association have joined forces for “a sense of shared, urgent concern for the welfare of journalists, writers, and bloggers and a profound alarm over the situation for free expression in Iran.”

For more information about the campaign and to find links to upcoming events and relevant articles please visit www.oursocietywillbeafreesociety.org.