New York, June 15, 2009--The Committee to Protect
Journalists called today for an end to the Iranian authorities' ongoing
crackdown on media following the disputed re-election of incumbent President
Since Friday, authorities have muzzled media outlets and beaten
and harassed journalists in an attempt to control the flow of news, according
to international news reports. The official announcement of the election
results on Saturday morning sparked violence across the country as supporters
of Ahmedinejad's main challenger, Mir-Hossein Mousavi,
denounced the outcome.
"We are outraged by the government militia attacks against
journalists and media organizations," said Mohamed Abdel
Dayem, CPJ program coordinator for the Middle East and North
Africa. "The Iranian authorities must immediately cease threats
and attacks against the press and guarantee that journalists are able to report
The BBC reported
on Sunday that its Persian television and radio signals were experiencing
disruption in Iran and the Middle East and Europe "because
there is heavy electronic jamming of one of the satellites the BBC uses in the Middle East to broadcast
the BBC Persian TV signal to Iran."
Technicians determined that the disruption was coming from Iran, the BBC reported.
The Dubai-based pan-Arab Al-Arabiya news channel reported on
Sunday that Iranian authorities had shut down
bureau for a week without explanation. Al-Arabiya's correspondent in Tehran "was asked by the
Ministry of Information to change a report and then notified that the offices
would be closed for a week," the channel reported.
On Friday, the U.S.-backed Farsi-language
Farda reported that several reformist Web sites have
been censored inside Iran, including Jomhoriyat, Khordade No,
Aynda, Mowj Sehum, and Nawruz. Tehran24.com, an online image database, was blocked inside Iran
today, the London-based Daily
Telegraph reported. On Sunday, authorities suspended Kalameh Sabz,
the reformist newspaper affiliated with the Mousavi,
the Iran-based Kalameh news Web site reported.
Since Friday, foreign journalists have reported increased
harassment. "We were arrested and had our tapes confiscated," the BBC's John
from Tehran on
Sunday. "After that we had to film more discreetly." Correspondent Jan
Eikelboom and cameraman Dennis Hilgers of the Dutch
public broadcaster Nederland
2 said they were briefly arrested by police when they were filming in front of Mousavi's
head office. Their tapes and permits were confiscated and they were ordered to
leave the country immediately, AFP
reported. Belgian radio stations RTBF and VRT also told the AFP that their
correspondents in Iran
have been briefly arrested and instructed not to take pictures.
James Longley, an American
documentary filmmaker, and his translator were briefly detained by police on
Sunday in Tehran
while interviewing people near the Ministry of Interior.
"They dragged me and my translator off to the Ministry of Interior building," Longley
wrote in an e-mail. "They punched and kicked [the translator] in the groin.
They ripped off his ID and snatched away both our cameras. A passing police
officer sprayed my translator in the face with pepper spray."
Iranian authorities ordered the crew of the Spanish RTVE
broadcasting network to leave the country today, Al-Jazeera
reported. German public television channels ARD and ZDF told Agence
France-Presse on Sunday that their correspondents in Iran were not allowed to broadcast their
The entirety of Iran's Internet
crashed on Saturday and only came back online in patches, according to international
news reports. There were also news accounts that said Iranian authorities had
intentionally disabled access to the Internet and mobile phone text messaging
in an effort to stifle protestors' effort to organize. It is possible, however,
that these crashes are the result of exceptionally high demand by users who
have inundated the system, report technical experts.