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.