Letter from CPJ, OPC to Iran

April 22, 2010 

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad 
President of the Islamic Republic of Iran 
c/o Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations 
 622 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017

Your Excellency:

The Overseas Press Club of America, an international association of journalists working in the United States and abroad, and the Committee to Protect Journalists, a New York-based nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to defending press freedom worldwide, want to express our deep concerns about your government’s treatment of journalists and its unabated harassment of Newsweek correspondent Maziar Bahari.

Bahari, who was imprisoned in Iran for 118 days on fabricated antistate charges following last year’s disputed June presidential election and who continues to face legal action in Iran, told CPJ that family members in Tehran had received a threatening phone call on Saturday from a man who identified himself as an Iranian court official.

The caller threatened unspecified consequences if Bahari continued to speak out on behalf of his imprisoned colleagues. Bahari, who also serves as a consultant to a campaign calling for the release of imprisoned Iranian journalists and writers, has made numerous statements and appearances advocating for the many Iranian journalists who remain imprisoned and continue to face baseless criminal charges.

“Tell Maziar that he shouldn’t think we don’t have access to him because he is not in Iran,” said the male caller, who did not identify himself by name. “The situation is getting dangerous now. Anything can happen without advance notice.”

We denounce this and similar threats made to Bahari and numerous other Iranian journalists, a pattern of intimidation designed to control news coverage and browbeat reporters into submission. Bahari told CPJ that this is the first time such threats have been expressed to family members. He said that he had previously been contacted through intermediaries in an effort to convince him to keep quiet. He also stated that during his incarceration, he was told that the Revolutionary Guard has “foreign branches that can bring you back in a bag.”

We ask that you instruct the relevant authorities to end their sustained campaign of intimidation and harassment of Bahari and dozens of other independent or opposition journalists in Iran.

We thank you for your attention to this most urgent matter of international importance.

Respectfully yours,

John Martin – ABC News (retired)

Yvonne Dunleavy – Journalist/Author

Ellen McCourt

Harriett Corporon

Jurt E. Luch

Keith Hu

Andrew Nagorski – EastWest Institute

Nancy Novick – NS Design

Richard Bucholz

Beth Knobel – Fordham University

Kirill Belyaninov – Kommersant Daily (Russia)

Olga Meshcheryakova – NTV America

Sonya K. Fry – Overseas Press Club of America

Jane Reilly – Overseas Press Club Foundation

James W. Fry III – Café Katja

Rachel Manning – Bard College

Elliott D. Woods – Virginia Quarterly Review

Evelyn Leopold – Huffington Post

Maureen White

Christina Bolton – John Boltz Consulting

Nicole Bode – DNAinfo.com

Jane Ciabattari – OPC Board Secretary

Nate Beeler – Washington Examiner

Mark Tap Scott – Washington Examiner

Stephen G. Smith – Washington Examiner

Jack Beeler – Porter Waght

Amber Qureshi – Free Press

Susan Boyle – Associated Press

Stephen Segaller – Thirteen/WNET.org

Tom Squitieri – TS Navigations

Rita Cosby – CBS Inside Edition

Tomaczek Dednariek – CMG Media LLC

Nina Chaudry – Thirteen/WNET.org

Tom Casciato – Thirteen/WNET.org

Carrie Holt de Lama – HOH Productions, LLC

Anna Walek – QTL Veronique

Stefanie Lemcke – Quatum Media

Deborah Browski – Wall Street Journal

Jim Dever – SAP

Vito Roconelli – Barron’s

Eric Carlson – Morgan Stanley

Steve Sokol – American Council on Germany

Allan Dodds Frank – OPC President

Kimberly Dozier – Associated Press

Christy Carpenter – Paley Center for Media

Martin Smith – Rain Media

Will Cohen – Rain Media

Katherine Frank

Melissa Frank

Lilian King – Meritas Partners

Michael Lee – Committee of 100

Charles M. Sennott – GlobalPost.com

Colette Rhoney – Media Consultant

Matt McAllester – GlobalPost.com

Catherine Collins – Microsoft

Caitlin McCabe – Microsoft

Kathleen McGraw – Edelman Public Relations

Jason Gale – Bloomberg News

Gail Conner Roche – Bloomberg News

Jonathan Neumann – Bloomberg News

Leslie Fox – Bloomberg News

Ronald Henkoff – Bloomberg News

Michael Serrill – Bloomberg News

Diane Brady – Bloomberg BusinessWeek

Michael Waldholz – Bloomberg News

Karen Toulon – Bloomberg News

Tim W. Ferguson – Forbes

Hiroko Nishimura – Nikkei

Frederick H. Katayana – Reuters Television

Hirotaka Toyonaga – NHK

Yoshihisa Suzuki – Itochu International

Hiroshi Masuda – Jiji Press America

Naureen Malle – Dow Jones

Barbara H. Landreth, M.D.

Sean Healy – Healy Corporate Communications

Angela Harrell – Coca-Cola Company

Emma Daly – Human Rights Watch

John Koppisch – Forbes

Robert Pledge – Contact Press Images

David Burnett – Contact Press Images

Kerry Smith – ABC

Eliane Laffont – Visa Pour L’Image

Thomas D. Herman – Freelance Journalist

Jacque Menasche – Contact Press Images

David Andelman – World Policy Journal

Joshua Hammer – Smithsonian Magazine

Karin Annus – Reuters

Agnes Crane – Reuters

David Martin – CBS News

Marcy Walsh – CBS News

Maria Mercader – CBS News

Kevin Tedesco – CBS News

Ana Real – CBS News

Larry Martz – Former OPC President

Bill Collins – Ford Motor Company

Will Bourne – Fast Company Magazine

Tara Martin – Ford Motor Company

Karl Greenberg – Media Post

Jennifer Bensko Ha – WNYC Radio

Dinda Elliott – Conde Nast Traveler

Greg Farrell – Financial Times

Dave DeCecco – PepsiCo

Liza Tan – CNBC

John Sicher – Beverage Digest

Martinne Geller – Reuters

Anjali Cordeiro – Dow Jones

Jeff Dahncke – PepsiCo

Michael McHale – Subaru of America

Jim Clash – Forbes

Jason Harper – Freelance Journalist

Betsy Stark – Freelance Journalist

John Voelcker – High Gear Media

Alex Richardson – Polo Ralph Loren

Marilyn Frank – Actress

Kate McLeod – McLeod Group

Jerry Flint – Forbes

Nisid Hajari – Newsweek

James Wellford – Newsweek

Frank de Maria – Newsweek

Kate Baker – Newsweek

Arlene Getz – Newsweek

Katie Paul – Newsweek

Karen Fragala – Newsweek

Daniel Klaidman – Newsweek

Robert Dowling – Caixin Media Group

Matt Dube

Andreas Henry – Wirtschaftswoche

Wataru Kodaka – Nikkei

Han Tjan – Daimler

Astrid Doerner – Handelsblatt

Ulrich Oppold – RTL Television

Christine Mattauch – Freelance Journalist

Mark Seibel – McClatchy Newspapers

Fred Mackerodt

Myron Kandel – Freelance Business Editor

Minky Worden – Human Rights Watch

Pierre Kanter – PKC Global

Carolyn Markey – General Motors

Herbert Shuldiner – Ward’s Auto World

James Hresko – General Motors

David Fondiller – Boston Consulting Group

Justin Fox – Harvard Business Review

Simon Targett – Boston Consulting Group

Andrew Zogzccilft-Johnson – Financial Times

David Lieberman – USA Today

Katie Benner – Fortune

James Surowieck – New Yorker

Paul Sullivan – New York Times

Len Johnson – McGraw-Hill Companies

Mary Breasted

Mary Anne Boorker

Fred Breisnacht

Shelly Dubois – Fortune.com

J.P. Magalindan – Fortune.com

Mary E. Elliott

Viviane Macedo – Deutsche Banl

Sital Patel – Fox News

Kathryn Sumeps

Heidi Brown – Freelance Journalist

Heide Bo

Celhia de Lavarene – Radio France

John J. Metzler – WorldTribune.com

Teri Schure – Worldpress.org

Gianpaolo Pioli – La Nazione (UNCA)

Roy Rowan – Former OPC President

David Friend – Vanity Fair

Richard B. Stolley – Time Inc.

Martha B. Stolley – Attorney

Robert F. Keefe

Ron Allen – NBC News

Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson – National Public Radio

George Bookman – Author/Freelance Writer

Felice Levin – OPC Foundation Board

Rosalind Massow – OPC Foundation

Travis Hemlepp – Retired

Linda Goetz-Holmes – Overseas Press Club Foundation

Catherine Hemlepp – Time Warner Communications (retired)

Helen Swinton – Overseas Press Club of America

Hope Sherman – Sherman & Company (CPAs, P.A.)

Neil Hickey – Columbia University School of Journalism

Lucrecia R. Duque – Overseas Press Club of America

Marc Lemcke – Communications & Network Consulting (CNC)

Alvaro Serrano – United Nations Population Fund Agency

Werner Schmidt – German-American Community Project, Inc.

Alexis Gelber – Former Newsweek Editor/OPC President

Andrew Lluberes – Department of Homeland Security

William J. Holstein – Independent Writer/Author & OPC Foundation President

Jacqueline Albert-Simon – Politique Internationale

Joel Simon – Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)

John Weis – Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)

Joe Connolly – Wall Street Journal Radio, WCBS

Gerard Aziakou – Agence France-Press at the United Nations

Leanne Kao – Taipei Economic & Cultural Office in New York

Wendy Lin – Taipei Economic & Cultural Office in New York

Jeremy Main – OPC Freedom of the Press Committee

George E. Burns – Overseas Press Club of America/OPC Foundation