Ahmad Zaid-Abadi

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The new president may have limited power to enact change, but the practical needs for communications technology may work in favor of a freer press. By D. Parvaz

In his early months in office, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, pictured in Tehran June 17, 2013, focused primarily on foreign affairs. (Reuters/Fars News/Majid Hagdost)
In his early months in office, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, pictured in Tehran June 17, 2013, focused primarily on foreign affairs. (Reuters/Fars News/Majid Hagdost)

New York, June 10, 2013--The Iranian government is attempting to deprive Iranian citizens of meaningful news coverage by blocking several news websites in the run-up to the country's presidential elections on Friday, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Iran continues to jail dozens of journalists, stifling critical news coverage and commentary. Crucial links to the international community have been cut off as the June presidential vote approaches. A CPJ special report by Sherif Mansour 

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.
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." 

The World Association of Newspapers on Wednesday honored the jailed Iranian journalist, Ahmad Zaid-Abadi with its Golden Pen of Freedom Award in the German city of Hamburg. Zaid-Abadi, right, was sentenced in 2009 to six years in prison, five years of internal exile, and a lifetime ban on working as a journalist. He is behind bars in Tehran's Evin Prison where, he told Xavier Vidal-Folch, president of World Editor's Forum, "the desperation that jailers create is such that you are convinced it's the end of the world."

More than 100 dissidents and journalists faced vague antistate accusations during a mass judicial proceeding in August. (AP)New York, March 9, 2010The number of journalists in jail rose in February as a relentless media crackdown continues in Iran. Authorities are now holding at least 52 journalists in prison, a third of all those in jail around the world, according to the latest monthly survey by the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Top Developments
• Dozens of journalists are detained in massive post-election crackdown.
•  Numerous critical newspapers, Web sites censored or shut down.

Key Statistic
23: Journalists imprisoned as of December 1, 2009.


Amid the greatest national political upheaval since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Iran launched a full-scale assault on the media and the opposition. In mid-June, mass protests erupted in response to official election results showing incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad winning by a large margin against his main opposition challenger, reformist Mir-Hossein Mousavi. The government responded with a wide-ranging and cruel campaign to suppress dissent. As protests against perceived electoral fraud spiraled into mass demonstrations, Iranian authorities threw dozens of journalists behind bars (where many were reportedly tortured), shuttered and censored news outlets, and barred foreign journalists from reporting. During the protests and crackdown, blogs and social media sites became front-line news sources. The crackdown increased the level of repression in a regime already hostile toward the press, and followed the months-long imprisonment of an Iranian-American freelance journalist, Roxana Saberi.

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