Iran

2011


Alerts   |   Iran

Iran unleashes another wave of arrests and repression

Ali Akbar Javanfekr, far left, director of the official Iranian News Agency, is among those recently charged. In this file photo, he attends a June presidential press conference. (Reuters/Caren Firouz)

New York, November 22, 2011--Iranian authorities have engaged in a series of attacks against the press in the past two weeks, including raiding a news office, banning an independent newspaper, and arresting at least five journalists.

Blog   |   Angola, China, Internet, Iran, Nigeria, Russia

Defending the middle ground of online journalism

It's easy to use polarizing descriptions of online news-gathering. It's the domain of citizen journalists, blogging without pay and institutional support, or it's a sector filled with the digital works of "mainstream media" facing financial worries and struggling to offer employees the protection they once provided. But there is a growing middle ground: trained reporters and editors who work exclusively online on projects born independent of traditional media. They share many of the practices of an older generation of reporters, but their work draws from the decentralized and agile practices of the digital world. 

Alerts   |   Iran

Iran arrests six documentary filmmakers

New York, September 19, 2011--Iranian authorities have arrested six independent filmmakers on vague accusations that they engaged in a foreign conspiracy in connection with a critical new documentary about Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, according to news accounts. The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the arrests and calls for the journalists' immediate release.

September 19, 2011 6:33 PM ET

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Blog   |   Internet, Iran

Farsi guides to the surveillance attack in Iran

As we've reported before, there's strong evidence that forces with widespread access to Iran's internet infrastructure have been engaged in large-scale surveillance of https traffic in July and August, certainly of Google traffic, and perhaps many more websites, including Facebook and Yahoo!

If you used the Internet in Iran during this period you should, at the very least, change your passwords, and log out, then log back into, any services you use.

A fuller explanation of what happened, and what to do about, written in Farsi, is available from Google's Persian Blog. "DigicomV" on YouTube has also posted some Farsi-language videos explaining the attack.

Thanks to Katrin at MobileActive for these links.

September 16, 2011 4:23 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Iran

Iran adds to its list of press freedom violations

Shahrvand-e Emrooz's cover shows Ahmadinejad being lectured. (Shahrvand Weekly Website)
New York, September 9, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the forced closure of two independent Iranian newspapers on Monday and the arrest of an Iranian writer in the city of Tabriz.

In July and August, Shahrvand-e Emrooz (Today's Citizen), a reformist weekly, ran two covers depicting President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in a satirical light. The paper was banned indefinitely under Article 6 of the Iranian Press Law, which prohibits "insulting legal or real persons who are lawfully respected, even by means of pictures or caricatures," the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran (ICHRI) reported.

Blog   |   Internet, Iran

Catching the Internet's spies in Iran and elsewhere

In August, Google introduced a new, if rather obscure, security feature to its Chrome web browser, designed to be triggered only under extreme circumstances.

If you were talking to Google's servers using the web's secure "https" protocol, your browser makes a number of checks to ensure that you are really talking to Google's servers. Like an overly obsessive bouncer, the new code double-checks the identity of any supposed Google site against a Chrome-only list of valid Google identities hardwired into the browser.

September 1, 2011 10:34 AM ET

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Letters   |   Iran

Iran must work toward improving press freedom

Dear Dr. Shaheed: Ahead of your report on human rights in Iran to the U.N. General Assembly in September, I would like to take this opportunity to provide you with an assessment of the country's state of press freedom as documented by the Committee to Protect Journalists. Authorities were detaining 34 journalists when CPJ conducted its annual worldwide census of imprisoned journalists on December 1, 2010, making Iran, along with China, the world's worst jailer of the press. In reviewing these cases and their developments, we have identified three distinct and worrying developments to which we would like to draw your attention.

Alerts   |   Iran

Iran continues to target critical journalists

An emotional goodbye between Ahmad Zaid-Abadi and his wife as his furlough ends.
New York, August 10, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned about a rise in the number of imprisoned journalists in Iran and the continuing deterioration of their health. In recent days, Iranian authorities increased a prominent journalist's prison term by two years and arrested a critical journalist who had just finished serving a prison sentence. Other journalists have suffered from declining health as a result of substandard conditions, extended periods in solitary confinement, and intentional abuse, according to news reports.

Alerts   |   Iran

Iran continues to target journalists

Matin-Pour (Permission by his family, ADAPP)

New York, August 3, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists is dismayed by news reports in Iran indicating that furloughed journalists are being summoned back to prison while new journalists continue to be convicted on manufactured charges. Reports of journalists' deteriorating physical and mental health are equally disturbing. 

"That the legal rights of accused and imprisoned journalists in Iran are disregarded with regularity has been established beyond a doubt by scores of individual cases documented by CPJ and others," said Mohamed Abdel Dayem, CPJ Middle East and North Africa program coordinator. "Multiple legal analyses have also outlined how the authorities are indifferent to the letter and the spirit of Iranian law in their vindictive pursuit of journalists who are viewed as political adversaries to be silenced or eliminated."

Statements   |   Iran

Iran adds a year to award-winning journalist's prison term

New York, July 26, 2011-- Recent news reports that Iranian authorities have added a year to the politicized five-year sentence currently being served by journalist Mohammad Davari is the latest example of vindictive government policies against critical journalists, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Alerts   |   Iran

In Iran, Shamsolvaezin ordered to prison

Shamsolvaezin's mother faces confiscation of her home if he does not report to prison. (AP)

New York, July 20, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists is dismayed to learn that veteran Iranian journalist Mashallah Shamsolvaezin has been summoned to serve a 16-month prison term that was unjustly levied in 2010.

Shamsolvaezin is a journalist, political analyst, deputy chairman of the now-defunct Iranian Journalists Association, and spokesman for the Committee for the Defense of Freedom of the Press. In December 2010, he was sentenced to 16 months in prison on charges of "insulting the president" and "weakening the Islamic Republic regime."

Alerts   |   Iran

Iran abuses detained journalists, arrests others

Zaid-Abadi (Creative Commons)

New York, July 8, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists is disturbed by the Iranian government's persistent mistreatment of detained journalists as well as news reports that authorities have arrested two additional journalists in recent days. 

"We are profoundly disturbed by media reports and testimonies indicating that Iran's prison and judicial authorities continue to engage in abusive and retaliatory tactics against detained journalists," said CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Mohamed Abdel Dayem. "Making matters worse, the authorities continue to detain new journalists at an alarmingly steady pace." 

Blog   |   Iran

When rape is inevitable: Surviving imprisonment in Iran

As I read the account of Saeeda Siabi in an Iranian prison it became hard for me to breathe. Her descriptions of being raped in front of her 4-month-old son stopped the air in my chest. "They took me to a torture room and tied me to a bed," she said. "I was wounded and injured, but I forgot about wounds and injuries. I thought I was fainting."

The depiction of the violence endured by Siabi--an Iranian housewife imprisoned for more than four years because of her politically active family--must be read in its entirety to fully appreciate. But it also must be read to understand what has happened to thousands of women and men held, like her, in fetid Iranian jails over decades. Journalists, activists, bloggers--these political prisoners have suffered torture on a nightmarish scale.

July 7, 2011 3:05 PM ET

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Reports   |   Cuba, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iran, Journalist Assistance, Pakistan, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Syria

Journalists in exile 2011: Iran, Cuba drive out critics

Two of the world’s most repressive nations each forced at least 18 journalists to flee their homes in the past year. In exile, these journalists face enormous challenges. A CPJ special report by Elisabeth Witchel.

Newly freed Cuban detainees and their families in a bus after their arrival in Madrid. Exile was the price the detainees paid for their freedom. (AP/Victor R. Caivano)

Blog   |   Cuba, Eritrea, Haiti, Iran, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Zimbabwe

CPJ's exiled journalists survey: Behind the numbers

Berhane (Colin McConnell/Toronto Star)

In 2007, my colleague Karen Phillips suggested we do something to mark World Refugee Day. Initially planning to publish a brief statement, I set about reviewing our data for background, checking in with older journalist cases about their current situation and looking broadly for trends to highlight. As the number of cases began counting into the hundreds, it became clear that what we had was a new indicator of press freedom conditions. Today, we're marking our fifth year of publishing the CPJ survey of journalists in exile, which is based on 10 years of data on 649 cases. 

Alerts   |   Iran

In Iran, journalists remain in government's crosshairs

Derakhshan (Creative Commons)

New York, June 15, 2011--Iran's ongoing assault against independent and opposition media has recently gained momentum, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. In recent weeks, a journalist died in custody for what his family said was a lack of adequate medical care, the government sentenced another journalist to 20 years in prison, arrested one more, and confirmed a 19 and a half year prison term for a blogger known as the "Blogfather." 

Reports   |   Colombia, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Ivory Coast, Libya, Pakistan

The silencing crime: Sexual violence and journalists

Few cases of sexual assault against journalists have ever been documented, a product of powerful cultural and professional stigmas. But now dozens of journalists are coming forward to say they have been sexually abused in the course of their work. A CPJ special report by Lauren Wolfe

Chaotic public events are often the setting for sexual abuse of journalists. CBS correspondent Lara Logan was assaulted at this political demonstration in Cairo. (AP/Khalil Hamra)

Blog   |   Iran, Syria

Parvaz says Syria detained her for Al-Jazeera work

Al-Jazeera has interviewed Dorothy Parvaz, the network journalist who was held for 19 days in Syria and Iran. Parvaz describes how the Syrian government told her at first that she was believed to be a U.S. spy, but later it became clear, she said, that she was being held because she worked for the network.  Watch the video--in which Parvaz talks about hearing "savage" beatings from her Syrian jail cell around the clock--below.

May 19, 2011 4:27 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Bahrain, Iran, Libya, Syria

Five Bahraini journalists detained; Parvaz still missing

New York, May 17, 2011--Bahrain's crackdown against journalists continues unabated with five new detentions in less than a week, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Syria and Iran, one of which is holding Al-Jazeera English journalist Dorothy Parvaz, continue to make intentionally vague or misleading remarks about her whereabouts and physical condition. Meanwhile, Libya announced today that four detained journalists would be released imminently. 

Statements   |   Iran, Syria

Iran must release Dorothy Parvaz

Parvaz (Ben Piven)

New York, May 11, 2011--Al-Jazeera reported today that Syria has deported Dorothy Parvaz, a journalist working for the channel's English-language service, to Iran.  The Committee to Protect Journalists is calling for her immediate release.

"Syria's apparent deportation of Dorothy Parvaz to Iran when she is also a citizen of the U.S. and Canada, is an irresponsible choice," said CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Mohamed Abdel Dayem. "Given Iran's abysmal press freedom record, we are concerned about Parvaz's well-being. Iranian authorities must immediately release Parvaz, who has committed no crime."

May 11, 2011 1:56 PM ET

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Reports   |   Belarus, Burma, China, Cuba, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Russia, Syria, Tunisia

The 10 Tools of Online Oppressors

The world’s worst online oppressors are using an array of tactics, some reflecting astonishing levels of sophistication, others reminiscent of old-school techniques. From China’s high-level malware attacks to Syria’s brute-force imprisonments, this may be only the dawn of online oppression. A CPJ special report by Danny O’Brien

A security line outside Google's Beijing office. (AP/Andy Wong)

Reports   |   Belarus, Burma, China, Cuba, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Multimedia, Russia, Syria, Tunisia

Audio Report: The 10 Tools of Online Oppressors




In our special report, "The 10 Tools of Online Oppressors," CPJ examines the 10 prevailing strategies of online oppression worldwide and the countries that have taken the lead in their use. In this accompanying podcast, CPJ Deputy Director Robert Mahoney notes that these strategies range from sophisticated cyber-attacks to traditional brute-force techniques. Listen to the podcast on the player above, or right click here to download an MP3. (2:47)

Read CPJ's special report, "The 10 Tools of Online Oppressors."

May 2, 2011 8:44 AM ET

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Blog   |   Iran

When a defender is persecuted, what rights are left?

Everyone at some point has needed someone to stand up for them. These people shine in our memories for gestures or actions taken on our behalf, whether as children against the schoolyard bully or as adults in favor of a scholarly proposition or professional advance. But an especially powerful embodiment of an advocate is that of an attorney who uses the law, even where individuals have few rights, to argue for the freedom or survival of those who are oppressed. Nasrin Sotoudeh is such an advocate, and on April 26 her courage, determination, and professionalism as a writer, lawyer, and human rights activist in Iran will be honored with the PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award. Sotoudeh, who has served as legal counsel for several journalists imprisoned in Iran, was sentenced in January to 11 years in prison. 

April 15, 2011 2:03 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Bahrain, Iran, Libya, Yemen

Attacks on media continue across Middle East

Libyan pro-government supporters hold posters of Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi during a demonstration in Tripoli. (Reuters/Ismail Zitouny)

New York, February 16, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned about the continued assaults on journalists covering anti-government demonstrations in the Middle East. In recent days, journalists have been obstructed, assaulted, or detained in Libya, Bahrain, Iran, and Yemen. Authorities have also slowed down Internet connection and blocked websites, according to local journalists.

Attacks on the Press   |   Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Lebanon, Morocco, Sudan, Tunisia, Turkey, Yemen

Attacks on the Press 2010: Middle East and North Africa Analysis

Suppression Under the Cover of National Security

A police trooper stands guard on a police vehicle outside a state security court in Sanaa, Yemen. (Reuters/Khaled Abdullah)

By Mohamed Abdel Dayem

Relying on an extensive network of sources in the military, government, and Islamist groups, Yemeni freelance journalist Abdulelah Shaea had become a frequent and pointed critic of the administration's counterterrorism efforts. By July, President Ali Abdullah Saleh's government had enough, dispatching security agents to seize and roughly interrogate Shaea for several hours about his reporting.

Attacks on the Press   |   Iran

Attacks on the Press 2010: Iran

Top Developments
• Authorities sustain their crack- down on critical journalists, arresting dozens.
• Journalists face harsh prison terms and mistreatment in custody.

Key Statistic
34: Journalists imprisoned on December 1. Along with China, Iran is the world's worst jailer of the press.


Defying international condemnation, the government sustained its widespread crackdown on the press, prosecuting journalists arrested in the aftermath of the disputed June 2009 presidential election and detaining additional critical reporters and editors throughout 2010. More than 100 journalists in all had been detained at various times since the crackdown began, CPJ research showed, a campaign of intimidation unparalleled worldwide in more than a decade. The repression came at a time of great global significance that included disputes over Iran's nuclear program and tightening international sanctions.

February 15, 2011 12:31 AM ET

Alerts   |   Algeria, Iran, Yemen

Journalists in the Middle East face multiple attacks

A woman walks past riot police standing guard during a demonstration in Algiers on Saturday. (Reuters/Louafi Larbi )

New York, February 14, 2011--As protests spread from Tunisia and Egypt to other countries in the region, journalists have been targeted by security forces, in Yemen, Iran, and Algeria, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. 

Alerts   |   Iran

More than 1,000 supporters urge Iran to end crackdown

Davari (RAHANA)

New York, February 10, 2011--As Iran marks the 32nd anniversary of the country's revolution on February 11, the Committee to Protect Journalists and more than 1,000 press freedom supporters delivered a clear message to Iranian Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei today: Free your country's imprisoned journalists.

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