Freedom of the Press



Freedom of the Press 2002

2002 Scores

Press Status

Not Free

Press Freedom Score
(0 = best, 100 = worst)


Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)


Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)


Hard-line political and religious leaders continued to crack down on the news media leading up to and following the election of reformist President Mohammad Khatami in June. During his first administration, newspapers were permitted freer coverage. More diverse publications pleased a wider audience, but not the conservative opponents of reform. By October, Iran had become the country with the most imprisoned journalists (20), according to Reporters sans Frontieres (RSF). The press was called the victim of "serial plaintiffs," the Ministry of Intelligence and Security, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, and the state broadcasting company, which controls all electronic media. These agencies filed criminal complaints that led to press closures and arrests, with over 40 newspapers banned since April 2000. Although the state shut down 400 Internet cafes, many remained open, serving some 300,000 people online. At least 1,000 satellite dishes, however, were confiscated. Some journalists sentenced to long prison terms also received 30 or 50 lashes and were barred from journalism for years. Such "medieval" treatment, said RSF, was intended to gag the reformist press.