Female and male Journalists in Iran continue to be subjected to a relentless crackdown and defamation by the regime in flagrant violation of its commitment to respect the right to freedom of expression, according to the Women Journalists Without Chains (WJWC).
The WJWC expresses deep regrets at public trials the Iranian authorities have announced to hold against about 1,000 female activists, for reasons related to the ongoing protests in the country.
Last Sunday, October 30, Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security labelled journalists Niloofar Hamedi and Elahe Mohammadi as agents for CIA, Mossad, Saudi intelligence and several other countries. According to Iranian law, spying charge levelled at them carries death penalty.
The two female journalists had helped to report the story of Mahsa Amini, the 22-year-old woman whose tragic death in the custody of Iran’s morality police has sparked nationwide protests led by young men and women who are calling for political changes and an end to repression of the authorities.
Niloofar Hamedi was arrested from her home in Tehran on September 22, and then her colleague Elahe Mohammadi on September 29 following covering Mahsa Amini’s funeral. Hamedi is considered the most prominent female journalist defending Iranian women's rights.
The WJWC has condemned the Iranian authorities' insistence on defaming the two journalists, calling on them to respect their commitments under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which guarantees freedom of expression.
In the same context, the organization has called on the international community to put pressure on the Iranian regime for the immediate and unconditional release of the two activists and all journalists detained in its prisons, and to stop prosecuting them and restricting their freedom.
The number of detained journalists in Iran has risen to 45 since the protests erupted on streets across the country. According to Iranian human rights sources, they were arrested from homes and workplaces on various charges like spreading propaganda and espionage.
As the protests keeps going on, legislative changes in Iran are made to stifle freedom of expression and hamper access to the Internet, not to mention that torture and other ill-treatment forms against activists and social media celebrities are widely and systematically practiced.
Moreover, Iran has imposed strict restrictions on the flow of information over the Internet and continues to prevent many applications like Telegram, Facebook and Twitter from operating under the excuse that social media and information exchange are used by its enemies to wage a “soft war” against it.
Hence, the WJWC calls on the Iranian authorities to end restrictions on the freedom of information exchange, lift the ban on electronic applications, and refrain from all violations of freedom of expression in the country.
Women Journalists Without Chains
November 3, 2022