CPJ is honored to present its 2020 International Press Freedom Award to Iranian journalist Mohammad Mosaed.
Mosaed is a freelance economic journalist who has worked as an investigative reporter for several reformist magazines and newspapers. While at Shargh Daily, he reported extensively on government corruption, embezzlement, economic sanctions, labor, and popular protests. In 2019, he was forced to resign from the newspaper, allegedly under pressure from allies of a government minister whom he had accused of corruption and embezzlement in his reporting. Mosaed now publishes investigative news about alleged corruption and labor union issues on social media platforms including Twitter and Telegram.
In late 2019, Mosaed was arrested after publishing a post on Twitter despite an internet shutdown that authorities had implemented in response to anti-government protests. He wrote in one of his tweets that he was using 42 different proxy servers to access the internet. He was released in early 2020 but detained again in February and interrogated after he criticized the government’s lack of preparedness for responding to COVID-19; questioned why the number of candidates in Iran’s February parliamentary elections were restricted to hardliners; and exposed two of the candidates as former members of the Revolutionary Guards. He was released soon after, but authorities suspended his Twitter account.
In August 2020, Mosaed was charged with “colluding against national security” and “spreading propaganda against the system.” Days later, a Tehran court sentenced him to four years and nine months in prison, a two-year ban on journalism activities, and a two-year ban on using all communications devices.
Iran has been hit hard by COVID-19. Meanwhile, Iranian officials have tried to cover up crucial information, threatened journalists, and suspended all newspaper printing and distribution, citing the need to slow the pandemic as an excuse. CPJ is honoring Mosaed with an award to highlight the risks that he and other Iranian journalists face in their daily work, and to remind Iranian authorities that the world is watching.