Since the disputed re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2009, the regime has continued its campaign against the press by imprisoning many dozens of journalists, harassing and intimidating others, and routinely banning reformist publications. Jailed reporters were subject to abusive conditions that included extended solitary confinement, physical abuse, and denial of family visits and medical treatment. Political blogger Sattar Beheshti died in state custody in November, the third journalist to die in Iranian detention since 2003. Fellow inmates at Evin Prison said Beheshti, 35, had been tortured. The authorities continued to censor the Internet, blocking millions of websites, including news and social networking sites, and announcing the creation of a national Internet that would enforce even stricter controls. In the run-up to the 2013 election, the regime stepped up its assault on the international press. After a Tehran jury voted in late September to convict Reuters on anti-state charges for a faulty video headline, the government suspended the agency’s accreditation and banned its journalists from reporting. BBC journalists were also arrested, questioned, and intimidated throughout the year. In March, the broadcaster reported a “sophisticated cyberattack” on its email and Internet services that coincided with efforts to jam its satellite feeds into Iran. In October, Europe’s largest satellite providers ceased transmission of 19 Iranian state-operated satellite television and radio channels in response to sanctions imposed by the European Union.
Worldwide tally reaches highest point since CPJ began surveys in 1990. Governments use charges of terrorism, other anti-state offenses to silence critical voices. Turkey is the world's worst jailer. A CPJ special report
Attacks on the Press | Bahrain, Bangladesh, Brazil, Cambodia, Colombia, Ecuador, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, Somalia, Syria, Tanzania, Thailand
New York, February, 11, 2013--At least two more journalists have been arrested by Iranian authorities, bringing to 17 the number of journalists caught in the newest crackdown against the Iranian press, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on authorities to immediately halt their campaign against critical news media in the run-up to the presidential elections in June.
In late January, Iranian authorities waged the largest crackdown on the press since 2009, detaining a wave of journalists and issuing arrest warrants for numerous others. The Ministry of Intelligence accused the journalists of conspiring with foreign media to repeat the alleged "sedition" of 2009, referring to electoral fraud exposed by the media and the protests that followed. In response to the arrests, IranWire, a project led by our colleague Maziar Bahari, produced this video calling for the journalists' release.
Iran has maintained a revolving-door policy for imprisoning journalists, freeing some detainees on furloughs even as new arrests are made. In its December 2012 prison census, CPJ found that Iran was the world's second-worst jailer of journalists, with 45 journalists imprisoned in reprisal for their work. The threat of imprisonment has led scores of Iranian journalists to flee into exile in recent years.
An increase in press freedom violations last year created a surge of need among journalists, driving a record number of assistance cases for CPJ's Journalist Assistance Program in 2012. More than three-quarters of the 195 journalists who received support during the year came from East Africa and the Middle East and North Africa, reflecting the challenges--including threats of violence and imprisonment--of working in these repressive regions. Here are some of the highlights of our work over the last year:
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