Sunday 21 June 2009

Iran joins China as 'biggest prison for journalists'

Iran now ranks alongside China as the world’s biggest prison for journalists, according to press freedom monitoring group Reporters Without Borders
The crackdown has been intensified following Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s endorsement of the result of the 12 June presidential election and the opposition’s demonstrations.
RWB says Iran now has a total of 33 journalists and dissident bloggers in its jails, while journalists who could not be located at their homes have been summoned by telephone by Tehran prosecutor general Said Mortazavi.
“The force of the demonstrations in Tehran is increasing fears that more Iranian journalists could be arrested and more foreign journalists could be expelled,” Reporters Without Borders says. “The regime has been visibly shaken by its own population and does not want to let this perception endure. That is why the media have become a priority target.”
RWB added: “The international community cannot continue to ignore the situation. It must have a clear and unanimous reaction that is proportionate to the gravity of these events. And there will never be any question of recognising the results of the 12 June election.”
It has written to the leaders of the European Union’s 27 member countries urging them not to recognise President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s reelection.
The Iranian authorities have told Jon Leyne, the BBC's correspondent in Tehran, to leave the country within 24 hours. The request came a day after protests about the presidential election left at least 10 people dead in the capital.

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