WORLD PRESS FREEDOM 2010: MORE THAN 35 IRANIAN JOURNALISTS STILL BEHIND BARS

Press Release No. 12/2010
Date: 3 May 2010

WORLD PRESS FREEDOM 2010: MORE THAN 35 IRANIAN JOURNALISTS STILL BEHIND BARS
Send the IFJ protest e-card to President Ahmedinejad now

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has marked this year’s World Press Freedom Day with a special focus on the situation of journalists in Iran, where dozens of journalists remain behind bars, newspapers closed and where the IFJ affiliate, the Association of Iranian Journalists has had its office closed down.

“The onslaught on media in Iran has been unrelenting since the disputed elections in June, last year,” IFJ President Jim Boumelha said.

“The government has sought to suppress independent media and to shut down all contacts with outside following unprecedented show of public defiance to the regime,” he added.

The IFJ said there are still up to 35 journalists in prison since the mass trial of media last August 2009 and many more newspapers have been shut down.

“The office of the Association of Iranian Journalists (AoIJ), an IFJ affiliate, remains sealed since 5 August 2009 with no immediate prospect of being allowed to function again,” the IFJ said in its statement.

The IFJ Executive Committee decided in their meeting in Marrakech, Morocco on 20-21 March 2010 to focus World Press Freedom Day 2010 activities on raising awareness of the situation of media in Iran and support for the IFJ campaign to free Iranian journalists which has been running since September 2009.

In particular, IFJ affiliates, their members and journalists around the world have been requested to send the IFJ electronic post card to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, calling for the release of all detained journalists and the reopening of the AoIJ office in Tehran.

The Institute of Maltese Journalists (IGM), the local affiliate of the IFJ, has associated itself with the IFJ’s request and has called on all IGM members and the entire Maltese journalistic community to send a copy of the postcards to the Iranian president (protest card is available here).

“We need to show solidarity with journalists in Iran all the time,” IFJ General Secretary Aidan White said.

“But World Press Freedom Day provides the opportunity to focus the minds and send a message to the Iranian government about our determination to stand by our colleagues and fight for their freedom,” White insisted.

The IFJ has also called for global action to promote the safety of journalists following confirmed deaths of at least 27 journalists since the start of the year in countries such as Honduras, Thailand, Nigeria and Pakistan.

“This death toll after just four months ought to shock the world into action,” added White. “We are well past the time of words alone in the face of utter indifference on the part of men of violence.”

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