The state of freedom of expression in Iran continues to worsen, especially under the recent campaign of arrests in which at least 36 journalists – both male and female — have been detained in the three weeks since demonstrations broke out over the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, according to the Iranian Journalists Syndicate.
In a statement on Iran’s crackdown on press freedoms and journalists, Women Journalists Without Chains (WJWC) says: “Iran keeps pursuing a policy of repressing and persecuting journalists and human rights activists and workers, and throwing them in prisons and detention centers for long periods and on unspecified charges.”
The Iranian authorities have directly targeted a large number of male and female press workers, as at least 36 journalists of both sexes were subjected to arbitrary arrest and detention in security centers, including arresting journalist Nilofar Hamidi - the first to report the death of Masha Amini - from Al Sharq daily newspaper, on September 22, 2022, journalist Elaheh Mohammadi, a reporter for the daily newspaper Hammihan, on September 29, 2022, after covering the funeral of Mahsa Amini, Fatemeh Rajabi, economics reporter, arrested in her home in Tehran on September 22, and Mozhgan Kavousi, a Kurdish researcher and writer.
The security forces also arrested photojournalist Yalda Moayeri on September 20, along with five other Kurdish woman activists, namely Faranak Rafiei, Baran Saedi, Mahrou Hedayati, Azadeh Jamaati and Bahar Zangiband in Sanandaj, Kurdistan province.
Accordingly, the WJWC has called on the international community to put pressure on the Iranian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release any journalist and activist in their prisons and stop pursuing journalists and restrict their right to free movement.
Commenting on the deteriorating human rights situation in Iran, the WJWC founder, Tawakkol Karman, stated: Female journalists are being persecuted in Iran, first because they are journalists, and then because they are women who do their job in covering the protests and conveying a vivid picture of events in Iran.
Mrs. Karman added that the Iranian authorities are very creative at using repressive forms and policies against freedom of expression, noting that the Iranian regime has made extensive steps that enable it to control freedom of expression across the country, such as granting internet powers to military forces, blocking social media applications and closing media outlets, in addition to practicing all forms of repression and abuse against journalists.
Women Journalists Without Chains