Two years after a contested presidential election, Tehran continued to use the mass imprisonment of journalists to silence dissent and quash critical news coverage. Imprisoned journalists suffered greatly amid the crowded and unsanitary conditions of notorious prisons such as Rajaee Shah and Evin. The health of many detainees severely deteriorated, while numerous others suffered abuse at the hands of prison guards. The detainees also faced a battery of punitive measures, from the denial of family visits to placement in solitary confinement. Authorities continued a practice of freeing some prisoners on furloughs while making new arrests. Six-figure bonds were often posted by the furloughed journalists who faced immense political pressure to falsely implicate their colleagues in crimes. While some large international news organizations maintained a presence in Tehran, their journalists could not move or report freely, particularly outside the capital. Politically sensitive topics such as the country's nuclear program or its plan to eliminate subsidies were largely off-limits to local and international reporters. The government also restricted adversarial reporting by using sophisticated technology to block websites, jamming satellite signals, and banning publications.
New York, February 14, 2012--The Iranian regime continued its sustained crackdown on the press, arresting a blogger, handing a journalist a harsh prison term, and banning a reformist news publication, according to news reports. The regime has also announced the mass arrest of several individuals with alleged links to the BBC Persian-language service, news reports said.
New York, February 3, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the detention and harassment in Iran of relatives of BBC Persian service staff who work outside the country, which is part of a sustained campaign to intimidate journalists into not reporting critically on Tehran's activities.
New York, February 2, 2012--At least 10 Iranian journalists were jailed in the month of January as the government continued its crackdown on dissent ahead of parliamentary elections scheduled in March, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Recent news reports identified three previously undisclosed arrests.
At the launch of Google+, Google's attempt to create an integrated social network similar to Facebook, I wrote about the potential benefits and risks of the new service to journalists who use social media in dangerous circumstances.
Despite early promises of relatively flexible terms of service at Google+, the early days of implementation were full of arbitrary account suspensions - particularly of pseudonymous users - and the appeals process was unclear. The result was a lot of early bad press for the service from the traditional "first adopter" crowd, a framing it has subsequently struggled to escape.
Politically-related Iranian prosecutions often take place in near secrecy, with unclear charges morphing and changing over time. It doesn't get any easier to work out the motivations of prosecutors when the charges are connected to technology.
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