Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 November 2014, 15:45 GMT

Press freedom violations recounted in real time (from 1st July 2010)

Publisher Reporters Without Borders
Publication Date 30 November 2010
Cite as Reporters Without Borders, Press freedom violations recounted in real time (from 1st July 2010), 30 November 2010, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4cf8a08f0.html [accessed 27 November 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

30 November 2010 - One step forward, one step back

Nima Dehghan, journalist on the weekly Chehel cheragh (40 Lights), was arrested at his home by intelligence ministry officers on 28 November. It is still not known why he was arrested or where he is being held. Chehel cheragh was suspended on 22 November after nine years of publication, by the Press authorisation and Surveillance Commission which comes under the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Orientation. The satirical journalist is known for his humorous articles about the state of the country.

Reporters Without Borders has learned with relief of the release yesterday of Ahmad Reza Ahmadpour, a theologian and director of the website "Silent Echo" (http://www.pejvak-kh.com/), from prison in the holy city of Qom. The mullah and blogger was sentenced to one year in prison on 27 December 2009 for "publishing false information about the regime" and "discrediting the Shiite clergy". He was "pardoned" one month before the end of his sentence. He went on a 16-day hunger strike in protest against his prison conditions and sent an open letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. He also faced proceedings for a letter that the prosecutor referred to as "publishing false information about the regime."

Journalist and director of the blog director Paineveste, Henghameh Shahidi, was forced to return to her cell at Evin prison on 15 November after Iran's judicial authorities refused to extend her medical leave for heart problems, which had allowed her temporary release on bail on 28 October.

23 November 2010 - Reformist weekly suspended in Iran

Iran's most popular weekly among young people, Chehel cheragh (40 chandeliers), was suspended yesterday by the Press authorisation and Surveillance Commission which comes under the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Orientation. The commission did not specify the reason for the ban in its media statement. But in its latest edition, Chehel cheragh carried an interview with the grand master of Iranian traditional music, Mohammad Reza Shajariyan, who has often made plain his support for the opposition movement, detested by the regime.  

The last time the ministry's official censorship arm ordered such a ban was on 27 September this year, when the daily Andisheh-ye No (New Thought) was permanently closed down. The newspaper had already been suspended on 21 December 2009 after it published articles about Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, the reformist grand ayatollah who died on 20 December 2009, in the holy city of Qom, 60 kilometres south of the capital Tehran, at the age of 87. The Ministry of Culture and Islamic Orientation had issued a decree the previous day forbidding all newspaper editors from mentioning the ayatollah.

4 November 2010 - An arrest and a release

Journalist Nazanin Khosravani, a contributor to several pro-reform newspapers including Bahar, Karghozaran and Sarmayeh, was arrested at her home by intelligence ministry officials on 2 November. Her family has received no news of her since then and still does not know why she is being held. Henghameh Shahidi, the editor of the blog Paineveste, was released provisionally on bail on 28 October on medical grounds. She has a heart ailment and must undergo an operation without delay.

Arrested on 25 February when she responded to an intelligence ministry summons, she was transferred to Evin prison and, two days later, was sentenced by a Tehran court on appeal to six years in prison and a fine of 50,000 tomans.

Shahidi was previously arrested on 29 June 2009, spending 50 days in solitary confinement in Section 209 of Evin prison. A Tehran revolutionary court released her on 2 November 2009 on bail of 9 million tomans (8,000 euros).

19.10.2010 - Two releases

Reporters Without Borders learned on 15 October of the release of Rahim Gholami, contributor to several local newspapers in the city of Ardabil, north-west Iran. He was arrested on 29 October 2009, and sentenced to one year in prison by the first chamber of the Ardabil revolutionary court for "publicity against the regime".

The organisation was also informed of the release of Alireza Behshti Shirazi, director of the website Kaleme.org, the official site of opposition leader Mirhossein Moussavi, who was arrested at his home in Tehran on 28 December 2009. The journalist was freed on bail of 500,300 million tomans (470,000 euros), while awaiting his trial.

09.09.2010 - Situation

Lawyer for several imprisoned journalists, Nassrin Soutodeh, who was arrested on 5 September for alleged anti-government propaganda and plotting against the regime, was yesterday able to call her family from Evin prison. She told them that she is being held in solitary confinement, her lawyer, Mina Jafari, confirmed to Agence France-Presse.

The reformist weekly Nasir Bushehr, published in Bushehr province in the south of the country for the past 11 years, was banned on 7 September for "publishing articles contrary to the principles of Islam and the Islamic Republic" and "insulting regime leaders by publishing articles, photos and cartoons." The ban was the decision of Iran's Commission for press authorisation and surveillance, the censorship arm of the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Orientation.

Cyber-feminist Jila Bani Yaghoob was summoned on 30 August by the 76th chamber of the Tehran court for "insulting the president", her lawyer, Farideh Gheirat said. She was tried and convicted on the same charge on 8 June this year, and sentenced to one year in prison and a 30-year ban on working as a journalist by the Tehran revolutionary court's 26th chamber. The prosecutor appealed the verdict and called for Yaghoob to be sentenced for her articles critical of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. It is the third time the journalist and women's rights activist had been brought before the courts in less than a year.

Jila Bani Yaghoob and her husband Bahaman Ahamadi Amoee were both arrested on 20 June 2009 along with around 20 other journalists during demonstrations that followed the disputed re-election of Ahmadinejad as president. She was freed on 24 August but her husband was jailed for five years.

30 July 2010 - Woman journalist freed on bail after being held for eight weeks

Azam Vismeh, an online journalist who works for Parlemannews, the official website of the pro-reform parliamentarians, was released on 21 July after paying 70 million toman (7,500 euros) in bail. Arrested at her home on 1 June, she had been held in Section 209 of Tehran's Evin prison.

2nd July 2010 - Two released and one freed on licence

Narges Mohammadi, journalist and spokesperson for the Defenders of Human Rights Centre, was released today on bail of 50 million tomans (40,000 euros). Intelligence ministry agents arrested the journalist, who works with Nobel peace prize laureate, Shirin Ebadi, at her home on the evening of 10 June 2010.

Reporters Without Borders also learned of the release on bail on 26 June, of Mahbobeh Khanssari, who works for the agency Cultural Heritage. She was arrested at her home on 1st June. On the other hand, Azam Vismeh, online journalist with Parlemannews (official website of parliamentary reformists), who was arrested at the same time as her, is still being held in solitary confinement and has been banned from receiving visitors.

Judicial authorities on 24 June allowed a release on licence to seriously ill journalist and documentary maker Mohammad Norizad. He worked for several years as an editorialist on the daily Kayhan, the conservatives leading press organ. Following the disputed re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president on 12 June 2009, the journalist, who also ran the blog http://mohammadnurizad.blogfa.com/, began to be openly critical of Iran's Supreme Leader as well as the government and the country's justice system. The 54th chamber of Tehran's appeal court on 29 May confirmed his sentence of three and a half years in prison and 50 lashes for "publicity against the regime and insulting the authorities".

Abdolreza Tajik, journalist and member of the Circle for the Defenders of Human Rights, was arrested on 12 June 2010. His family still has not been informed either of the place he is being detained or the reasons for his arrest.

Press freedom violations recounted in real time - January/July 2010

Press freedom violations recounted in real time - JUNE/DECEMBER 2009

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