CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program

Iranian journalist Pouyan Khoshhal, pictured, fled his home country after being detained for over two months and later sentenced to six years in prison over a single word. (Pouyan Khoshhal)

Iranian journalist imprisoned, fired, and forced into exile over a single word

In October 2018, authorities arrested Pouyan Khoshhal as he drove through the northern Iranian city of Rasht, by the Caspian Sea. The reason for the journalist’s arrest: his use of the word “death” instead of “martyrdom” to describe a Shiite saint in an article for the reformist newspaper Ebtekar.

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Supporters of Iran's President Hassan Rouhani wave flags during a campaign rally in Tehran on May 9. Iranian authorities have targeted messaging app Telegram ahead of the May 19 elections. (AP/Vahid Salemi)

Iran targets Telegram app as it seeks to control news ahead of May election

Iran has a history of cracking down on the independent press ahead of elections, with authorities arresting journalists and forcing reformist outlets to shut down. As Iranians prepare to vote in presidential and city council elections on May 19, authorities have turned their attention to Telegram, arresting several channel administrators for the app.

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President el-Sisi, pictured with Portugal's president, right, during a state visit to Lisbon. The Egyptian leader told a broadcaster he supports freedom of expression. (Jose Manuel Ribeiro/AFP)

‘People talk as they please’ Sisi says in comments on Egypt’s press freedom record

In Egypt last week a journalist was barred from travel without official explanation, a reporter was accused of criminal defamation over a 2015 investigation on child prostitution, and President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi defended Egypt’s freedom of expression record. An appeal date was also set for the Journalists’ Syndicate leaders who were sentenced this month to…

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A masked policeman gestures to a photographer in Cairo ahead of planned protests on November 11. At least four journalists were detained covering areas where rallies were due to take place. (AP/Amr Nabil)

Journalists detained during Egypt’s day of protests

Four journalists were detained November 11 amid a heavy deployment of security forces in Egypt’s cities in response to calls for nationwide protests over economic reforms. The protests were fewer and smaller than anticipated, but journalists were still harassed and, in some cases, arrested, according to local and international media. One journalist remains in custody.…

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Posters calling for the release of photojournalists Mohammad al-Batawi, right, and Shawkan, are held up in Cairo. A U.N. working group says that Shawkan's detention is arbitrary. (AP/Amr Nabil)

In Egypt, censorship, an arrest, and court hearings for journalists

Restrictions against the press continue in Egypt, with ongoing trials of journalists, some of whom have been in detention for more than three years, allegations that a TV station was ordered to drop a planned broadcast of an interview with a former official, and a reporter detained while trying to cover a sensitive story. Egypt…

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