Thursday 6 August 2009

Raid on Iranian journalists' association sends out 'chilling message' on press freedom

Armed men last night raided the Association of Iranian Journalists' office in Tehran and closed it down.
The NUJ today backed calls on the Iranian authorities to end the campaign of intimidation of journalists in the country.
The AoIJ is an affiliate of the International Federation of Journalists, which includes the NUJ. More than 40 journalists are believed to be in jail in Iran, the highest number held in any country in the world.
NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear has written to the Iranian authorities in London and to the UK foreign secretary David Milliband calling for the 42 journalists jailed in Iran to be freed and the Association of Iranian Journalists to be allowed to function freely.
IFJ general secretary Aidan White met today with the Iranian Ambassador to the European Union in Brussels. He warned that the closure of the Association of Journalists, within hours of the swearing in of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for a second term after weeks of post-election unrest sends a chilling message about the country's attitude to press freedom.
White said: "Government actions against media and journalists erode further the credibility and standing of the Government in national and the world opinion."
According to the AoIJ, some of whose leaders are in hiding fearing for their safety, their offices were closed on the order of the government's general prosecutor Saeid Mortazavi.
The association says it had planned a general assembly, which the authorities had banned.
The IFJ says three more journalists arrested in Tehran this week bring the number of jailed journalists to 42.
The AoIJ has also confirmed the death of Alireza Eftekhari, journalist of Abrar Economic daily, who died of his injuries sustained on 15 June at the hands of Iranian security forces during a media clampdown following protests over the Presidential elections.
See also 'Don't Let Maziar Bahari Be A Scapegoat'

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