As Iran Celebrates Journalists’ Day, Many Journalists Remain Imprisoned | Page 71 | Freedom House

As Iran Celebrates Journalists’ Day, Many Journalists Remain Imprisoned

Washington

As Iranians commemorate Journalists’ Day on August 8 (17th of Mordad in the Iranian calendar), Iran remains one of world’s most dangerous countries for reporters. Freedom House condemns the Iranian regime’s ongoing crackdown on journalists and calls for the release of Bahman Ahmadi Amouee and all other journalists who remain unfairly imprisoned.
 
“When journalists are not free to do their job – i.e., hold authorities up to scrutiny -- governments are then free to rule without consequences,” said Freedom House president, David J. Kramer. “The Iranian government’s ongoing crackdown on journalists is a shameful attempt to prevent citizens from understanding the regime’s true nature. Freedom House stands in solidarity with all wrongfully imprisoned journalists in Iran and calls for their immediate and unconditional release.”
 
In particular, Freedom House is worried by the continued imprisonment of Bahman Ahmadi Amouee. A prominent journalist, Bahman was arrested on June 20, 2009 in the aftermath of Iran’s disputed presidential election. The Iranian regime detained Bahman and his journalist wife, Jila Baniyaghoub, after they wrote articles critical of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Jila was released after two months. Bahman remains in Tehran’s Evin prison.
 
Bahman was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment and 34 lashes on charges of “insulting the President” and “anti-regime propaganda.” These charges violate basic rights of free expression. Bahman continues to suffer abuse by the Iranian regime. The authorities have denied his right to receive visitors, communicate with his aging mother, or leave prison on temporary furlough—refusals which are illegal under Iranian law.
 
In Freedom House’s forthcoming report, Freedom of the Press 2011, Iran is ranked as one of the least free countries for press freedom. The condition of Iranian journalists drastically deteriorated after the fraudulent June 2009 presidential election, when over 100 journalists were arrested and more than 50 fled into exile, according to human rights groups. Nearly 40 journalists remain in Iranian prisons. 
 
Iran is also ranked Not Free in Freedom in the World 2011, Freedom House’s survey of political rights and civil liberties and Not Free in Freedom on the Net 2011.
 
For more information on Iran, visit:
 
 
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Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.

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