Dear Dr. Shaheed: Ahead of your report on human rights in Iran to the U.N. General Assembly in September, I would like to take this opportunity to provide you with an assessment of the country's state of press freedom as documented by the Committee to Protect Journalists. Authorities were detaining 34 journalists when CPJ conducted its annual worldwide census of imprisoned journalists on December 1, 2010, making Iran, along with China, the world's worst jailer of the press. In reviewing these cases and their developments, we have identified three distinct and worrying developments to which we would like to draw your attention.
New York, August 3, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists is dismayed by news reports in Iran indicating that furloughed journalists are being summoned back to prison while new journalists continue to be convicted on manufactured charges. Reports of journalists' deteriorating physical and mental health are equally disturbing.
"That the legal rights of accused and imprisoned journalists in Iran are disregarded with regularity has been established beyond a doubt by scores of individual cases documented by CPJ and others," said Mohamed Abdel Dayem, CPJ Middle East and North Africa program coordinator. "Multiple legal analyses have also outlined how the authorities are indifferent to the letter and the spirit of Iranian law in their vindictive pursuit of journalists who are viewed as political adversaries to be silenced or eliminated."
Dear Minister Ergin: The Committee to Protect Journalists, an independent, nonpartisan organization dedicated to defending the rights of journalists worldwide, is alarmed by the ongoing detention of journalists in Turkey. We are also concerned by the large number of criminal cases opened against reporters under the sweeping provisions of the Turkish Criminal Code and Anti-Terrorism Act.
Do you believe the free flow of information must be protected? Sign the #RightToReport petition and demand that President Obama immediately:
1. Issue a presidential policy directive prohibiting the hacking and surveillance of journalists and media organizations.
2. Limit aggressive prosecutions that ensnare journalists and intimidate whistleblowers.
3. Prevent the harassment of journalists at the U.S. border.
Or click here to see the full petition, and join leading journalists like Christiane Amanpour, The Guardian’s Alan Rusbridger, Editor of the AP Kathleen Carroll, and Arianna Huffington in signing on.