Iran / Middle East & North Africa

Journalists attacked in Iran since 1992

  

Iranian journalists remain vulnerable in exile, says formerly imprisoned columnist Nejat Bahrami

By CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program The revelation of a plot by Iranian intelligence agents to kidnap and extradite Brooklyn-based Iranian journalist Masih Alinejad shocked the world last month. Another Iranian journalist, Nejat Bahrami, experienced the nightmare of life in Iranian custody that Alinejad appears to have escaped. Last year he served five…

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Why authoritarian governments force journalists like Belarus’s Raman Pratasevich into public confessions

Forced confessions—sometimes tied to public humiliation—have a long and inglorious history, and were a fundamental component of ancient judicial systems in the East and West. Obtaining a confession, by any means, for centuries was often a key part of achieving a conviction and meting out punishment. At the Salem witch trials, the accused could escape…

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Ten years after the Arab Spring, the region’s media faces grave threats. Here are the top press freedom trends

In early February 2011, Alaa Abdelfattah was in Egypt’s Tahrir Square, documenting and participating in the nascent pro-democracy uprising that would topple the government and transform the country and the region. Today, he is in prison on anti-state and false news charges, which his family believes are partly retaliatory for his work. Abdelfattah is one of…

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A woman in a face mask is seen addressing the camera in a YouTube vide.

Journalists jailed for social media “terrorism” highlight content moderation challenges

A journalist in China uploaded a video to YouTube criticizing the Chinese government’s response to the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan. Another, in Vietnam, left a state-owned newspaper but continued posting stories they wouldn’t let her cover on Facebook. In Egypt, a freelance photographer streamed an anti-government protest from his balcony on Facebook Live. In Iran,…

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Data journalists describe challenges of reporting on the true toll of COVID-19

How many people worldwide have been infected by the coronavirus, and how many have died as a result? Finding reliable information on the virus’s toll has proven such a challenging task that it is nearly impossible to answer these basic questions, five data journalists from around the world told CPJ in May and June. In…

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An Iranian woman wearing a protective face mask chooses traditional items ahead of Nowruz, the national New Year celebration, at the Tajrish Bazaar in the capital Tehran on March 19, 2020, despite the heavy death toll due the novel coronavirus in the country. Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the government has covered up crucial information and threatened journalists. (AFP/Stringer)

Amid coronavirus pandemic, Iran covers up crucial information and threatens journalists

In recent months, the stability of the Iranian government has been threatened by widespread protests in late 2019 and the shooting down of a Ukrainian civilian aircraft in January 2020 amid heightened tensions with the U.S. The latest threat is the coronavirus pandemic, which has hit Iran harder than any country except China or Italy.…

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An internet cafe manager works on his computer in Tehran, Iran on July 25, 2019. Iranian journalists say monitored connections and technology companies' concerns about U.S. government sanctions are making it harder for them to bypass censorship. (AP/Vahid Salemi)

To cement internet control, Iran helps journalists get online

In early 2020, a journalist in Iran received a form from Iran’s National E-commerce Union, a nominally independent group that is close to the government, requesting their name, the news website they work for, and their IP address. “With all due respect,” it read, “provide the following information to prevent any potential problem during future…

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Campaign posters pictured in Tehran on February 20. Ahead of parliamentary elections, authorities increased pressure on Iran's journalists with arrests, detentions and legal action. (Supplied to Reuters via West Asia News Agency/Nazanin Tabatabaee)

Iran harasses, intimidates journalists ahead of parliamentary elections

Elections are always problematic for journalists in Iran, as the government attempts to threaten the press into silence. The parliamentary elections on February 21 are no exception.

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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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A demonstration calling for LGBT rights in Trinidad and Tobago on April 12. Journalists covering LGBTQ issues say they often face retaliation for their work. (Reuters/Andrea de Silva)

Covering LGBTQ issues brings risk of threats and retaliation for journalists and their sources

To mark the annual International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, CPJ spoke with journalists and news outlets based in Argentina, Iran, Indonesia, the U.S., Uganda, and Russia, about the challenges they face reporting on LGBTQ issues.

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