Last Updated: Monday, 11 December 2017, 15:40 GMT

Press freedom violations recounted in real time

Publisher Reporters Without Borders
Publication Date 15 July 2009
Cite as Reporters Without Borders, Press freedom violations recounted in real time, 15 July 2009, available at: [accessed 12 December 2017]
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.

15 July 2009 - 39 journalists detained in Iran

List of the journalists detained since June 12

 13 July 2009, Koroush Javan
 11 July 2009, Marjan abdolahi
 11 July 2009, Satyar Emami
 11 July 2009, Majid Saidi
 11 July 2009, Tohid Bighi
 11 July 2009, Said Movahedi
 7 July 2009, Mohammad Reza Yazdan Panah
 4 July 2009, Issa Saharkhiz
 4 July 2009, Masoud Bastani
 29 June 2009, Henghameh Shahidi
 27 June 2009, Mojtaba Téhérani
 22 June 2009, Esmail Hagh Parast - Farhikhtegan
 21 June 2009, Somaieh Nosrati
 21 June 2009, Maziar Bahari - Newsweek
 20 June 2009, Bahaman Ahamadi Amoee
 20 June 2009, Jila Baniyaghoob -
 20 June 2009, Mehdi Zabouli - Hamshahri
 18 June 2009, Mohammad Ghochani - Etemad Meli
 17 June 2009, Saide Lylaz - Sarmayeh
 16 June 2009, Fariborez Srosh
 15 June 2009, Mohamad Atryanfar - Hamshary, Shargh, Shahrvand Emrouz
 15 June 2009, Saeed Hajjarian - Ex-editor of Sobh-e-Emrouz
 14 June 2009, Ahmad Zeydabadi
 14 June 2009, Kivan Samimi Behbani
 14 June 2009, Abdolreza Tajik
 14 June 2009, Mahssa Amrabad

Bloggers detained since June 12

 09 July 2009, Kaveh Mzafari
 16 June 2009, Mohammad Ali Abtahi, "Blogging Mullah" -
 14 June 2009, Somayeh Tohidloo -
 14 June 2009, Shiva Nazar Ahari -

List of journalists arrested before June 12 and still detained

 26 April 2009, Sajad Khaksari - Galam Moalem
 18 November 2008, Bahman Totonchi - Karfto
 7 August 2008, Massoud Kurdpoor - journaliste indépendant
 1st July 2007, Mohammad Sadegh Kabovand - Payam-e mardom-e Kurdestan
 25 January 2007, Adnan Hassanpour - Asou
 18 December 2006, Kaveh Javanmard - Karfto
 1st November 2006, Mohammad Hassin Falahieh Zadeh - Alalam

Bloggers detained before June 12

 29 November 2008, Mojtaba Lotfi
 1st November 2008, Hossein Derakhshan (

10 June - cyber-dissident arrested outside Tehran home

Kaveh Mozafari, a dissident journalist who writes for various websites, was arrested yesterday by men in plain-clothes as he was returning to his Tehran home with his ailing mother-in-law. The men threatened his mother-in-law as they took him away.

Arrested during demonstrations on 1 May in Tehran, Mozafari had been released just two weeks ago, on 24 June, after paying 50 million toman (45,000 euros) in bail.

9 July 2009 - Arrest of human rights lawyer, ally of Nobel peace laureate

Reporters Without Borders condemns the arrest of Mohamed Ali Dadkhah, a lawyer who represents many journalists and cyber-dissidents and who, together with Nobel peace laureate Shirin Ebadi, helped to set up the Human Rights Defenders Centre. He was arrested yesterday at his Tehran office along with several colleagues. There has been no word of them since then.

Mohammad Reza Yazdan Panah, a journalist who writes for the pro-reform newspapers Shargh, Kargozaran (closed by the authorities in 2008), Hammihan and Farhikhtegan and who keeps a blog (, was arrested at his Tehran home on 7 July and was taken to an unknown location.

"The authorities claim that they have released most of the people who were arrested during the opposition demonstrations but we can see that the arrests are continuing," Reporters Without Borders said.

Mostafa Ghavnlo Ghajar, a journalist who was arrested at his home at midnight on 22 June, was released on 6 July. He writes for various newspapers, acts as Radio Goftogo's "foreign media" specialist and keeps a blog (

According to the Reporters Without Borders tally, a total of 35 journalists and bloggers are currently in prison in Iran.

6 July 2009

Reporters Without Borders has meanwhile learned that journalist Masoud Bastani was arrested on 4 July while trying to visit his wife, fellow journalist Massa Amrabadi, in Evin prison. Amrabadi was arrested on 14 June despite being pregnant.

Issa Saharkhiz, a pro-reform journalist and former editor of Aftab (a magazine suspended in 2004) and Eghtesah (a newspaper suspended in 2005), was also arrested on 4 July. He was beaten at the time of his arrest, which took place at his home. His family has had no word of him since then.

Reporters Without Borders welcomes yesterday's release of Iason Athanasiadis-Foden, a British-Greek journalist employed by the Washington Times who was arrested at Tehran airport on 19 June as he was about to leave the country. Confirming his detention on 23 June, Iranian foreign minister Hassan Qashqavi said he was arrested for "reasons conflicting with journalism and in relation with the recent street riots."

As far as Reporters Without Borders knows, he is the only non-Iranian journalist to have been jailed since the 12 June Iranian elections.

2 July 2009 - Intelligence ministry bans meeting of journalists

The authorities banned a meeting of journalists that the Association of Iranian Journalists had called for today to "protest against the arrests of journalists and against the military and security climate now reigning in the country." The association sent the invitations out last week.

The association sent a second message telling journalists that the meeting had been cancelled for their own safety. The message also urged the judicial authorities, especially the Tehran prosecutor general, to respect the law and to change their practices as regards journalists and the news media.

30 June 2009 - 10am - Guardian website

Check the Guardian website that aims to put a face to each of those hundreds - possibly thousands - killed or arrested since the Iranian election.

30 June 2009 - 9 am. Mojtaba Pormohssen, journalist on several reformist papers, contributor to radio Zamaneh and editor of the newspaper Gilan Emroz, arrested in Rashat in the north of the country on June 15th, was released on June 29.

29 June 2009 - 4pm. More journalists arrested, while others released

Reporters Without Borders has learned that Kambiz Norrozi, the head of the Association of Iranian Journalists' legal committee, was arrested on 28 June and that Farhikhtegan journalist Esmail Hagh Parast was arrested on 22 June. Mojtaba Teherani, a journalist with the website Sahamnewes (, was arrested on the evening of 27 June as he was leaving the newspaper. Intelligence ministry agents searched his home the next day, confiscating his computer and CD-Rom archives.
Other journalists and Association of Iranian Journalists representatives were summoned for questioning last week by the Tehran revolutionary court or the intelligence ministry, including Badrolssadat Mofidi, the association's secretary-general, and Mashallah Shamsolvazein, its spokesperson. Although interrogated, they were not detained.
Reporters Without Borders has learned of the release of more than 20 journalists and media assistants. Alireza Behesti, who works with opposition presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi, and 22 employees of the newspaper Kalemeh Sabz, who were arrested on 22 June, were freed yesterday. Three of the newspaper's news editors are still detained.

Karim Arghandeh, who writes for the pro-reform newspapers Salam and Vaghieh Etafaghieh and keeps a blog (, was also released yesterday. Until then, there had been no news of him since 14 June.

26 June - 2pm.

Reporters Without Borders has learned of the arrest on 20 June of Mehdi Zabouli, journalist and photographer on the daily Hamshahri. He was injured during demonstrations following the disputed re-election of the president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and taken to hospital. Other patients were arrested on the same day.

25 June 12.30pm.

President of the European Parliament, Hans-Gert Pottering, said he planned to go to Iran, in response to an invitation from Nobel Peace Prize laureat, Shirin Ebadi. She told Reporters Without Borders, "At all the meetings I have had with officials from from the European Union, I demanded that they condemn the massive human rights violations in Iran. I also urged the UN Secretary General to send an investigative mission to the country. I insist on the fact that this is not a political conflict, but a fresh instance of mass human rights violations in Iran."

24 June - 3pm. Two journalists, who were arrested on 16 June in the city of Bushehr in the south-west of Iran, Hamideh Mahhozi and Hossin Shkohi were released two days later, the organisation learned.

49 journalists, arrested since June 12, are still behind bars. With a total of 59 journalists in prison, Iran now has more journalists in jail than any other country in the world, ahead of China and Cuba.

24 June - 11am. Arresting an entire editorial staff is totally unprecedented!

All 25 staff on the newspaper Kalemeh Sabz, including around 20 journalists, were arrested on June 22. The paper, owned by opposition presidential candidate, Mir Hossein Moussavi, stopped publishing on 13 June although it was not officially banned. It had intended to resume appearing and to bring out a new issue on 23 June but on the evening of 22 June, plain clothes agents from Tehran's prosecutor's office surrounded the building and arrested everyone inside. The editor, Alireza Behshtipour Shirazi, and his son were also arrested the same evening. Minutes before his arrest Shirazi had confirmed the earlier arrest of his entire staff, in an interview with German radio Deutsche Welle.

23 June - 3pm.

Iasol Athanasiadis, Greek-British journalist on the Washington Times was arrested at the airport on June 2009.

23 juin - 12am.

The UN secretary general, Ban Ki-Moon, on 23 June urged the Iranian authorities to respect fundamental civil and political rights, including freedom of expression, the right to inform the public and of free assembly.

23 June - 11am.

Mostafa Ghavnlo Ghajar, a contributor to several newspapers and a specialist on foreign media on Radio Goftogo (see his blog :, was arrested at midnight on June 22 at his place.

Freelance journalist Fariborez Srosh was also reportedly arrested on 16 June. He has been imprisoned in the past because of his work with Radio farda (Radio Free Europe).

21 June - 3pm.

In the afternoon of 21 June, the BBC correspondent, Jon Leyne, has been ordered to leave the country within 24 hours. Officials accused him of "supporting rioters". The authorities had previously accused Britain of "conspiring" against Iran.

Correspondent for Newsweek, Maziar Bahari, arrested at 7am by security forces at his home on June 21 at 7am.

20 June - 3pm.

Ali Mazroui, president of the Iranian Association of journalists, arrested on June 20 in the morning.

Bahaman Ahamadi Amoee and his wife Jila Baniyaghoob arrested at their home on June 20at midnight, following a search by plain clothes agents of the intelligence ministry. Winner in 2009 of the Courage in Journalism prize, awarded by the International Women's Media Foundation, Jila Baniyaghoob is head of a feminist news website Canon Zeman Irani ( Her husband Bahaman Ahamadi Amoee, works for several pro-reformist publications. .

19 June - 5pm.

Mohammad Ghochani, editor of the daily Etemad Meli, owner of Mehdi Karoubi, one of the candidates opposing Mahmoud Ahamadinejad in the presidential elections, arrested in Tehran on June 18 at 2am.

19 June - 3 pm.

Saide Lylaz, a business reporter for the newspaper Sarmayeh who has been very critical of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's policies, was arrested at his home in Tehran on June 17. His wife said she did not know where he had been taken.

Rohollah Shassavar, a journalist based in the city of Mashad, was also arrested on June 17.

19 June - 11 am. At least five more journalists arrested in provincial cities

It has emerged that four journalists were arrested in the southern city of Boshehr on 16 June:
 Hamideh Mahhozi
 Amanolah Shojai, who is also a blogger
 Hossin Shkohi, who works for the weekly Paygam Jonob
  Mashalah Hidarzadeh.

Several journalists and bloggers were among those arrested in the northern city of Rashat on 15 June. They include Mojtaba Pormohssen, who writes for several pro-reform newspapers, hosts a programme on radio Zamaneh and edits the newspaper Gilan Emroz. He was transferred yesterday to Lakan prison in Rashat.

17 June - 3 pm. Revolutionary Guard warns news websites

The Revolutionary Guard's Organised Crime Surveillance Centre has written to the editors of websites ordering them to suppress "content inviting the population to riot and spreading threats and rumours." Carrying today's date, the communiqué says there have been "several cases of websites and personal blogs posting articles inciting disturbance of public order and inviting the population to rebel."

The communiqué continues: "These sites, created with the help of American and Canadian companies, receive the support of media that are protected by the American and British security services such as the BBC, Radio Farda (Free Europe) and Radio Zamaneh."

The Surveillance Centre adds that it will reveal important information in the coming days about these "destructive networks."

In a communiqué last March, the Surveillance Centre announced for the first time that it had been trying to dismantle one of these "networks." Several of its young editors were arrested and their "confessions" were released a few days later. As well as admitting to creating pornographic websites to "mislead" Iranian youth, they said their activities had been orchestrated by Americans and Israelis and that they had been paid well. Some of the sites concerned were pornographic, but other criticised Islam, religion and the regime.

17 June - 1 pm. Two new arrests

Saide Lylaz, a business reporter for the newspaper Sarmayeh, who had been very critical of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's policies, is arrested at his home in Tehran. His wife says she does not know where he has been taken.

It is reported that Mohamad Atryanfar, the publisher of several newspapers including Hamshary, Shargh and Shahrvand Emrouz, was arrested on 15 June and was taken to the security wing of Evin prison.

Reporters Without Borders has meanwhile received reports of many detainees being mistreated.

16 June - 6pm. Aldolfatah Soltani arrested

Aldolfatah Soltani, a lawyer who represents many imprisoned journalists and who is a member of the Human Rights Defenders Centre, is arrested on the orders of the Tehran revolutionary court and is probably taken to the security wing at Tehran's Evin prison. Ten or so opposition activists, politicians and civil society figures have been arrested in the course of the day in Tehran and three other major cities - Tabriz, Ispahan, and Shiraz.

16 June - 4 pm. Foreign media forbidden to cover "illegal" demonstrations

The minister of culture and Islamic guidance, Mohammad Sfar Harandi, announces that "foreign news media are forbidden to attend or cover demonstrations that have been organised without the interior ministry's permission."

In practice, the authorities have been trying to prevent foreign journalists from covering the street protests against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's announced reelection "victory" since 13 June.

Reporter Yolanda Alvarez of Spanish state radio and TV broadcaster RTVE was expelled with all of her crew on 15 June. The Iranian authorities "asked us to leave the country today," she said in a telephone interview for RTVE. "We are unwanted observers (€¦) they want to eliminate every kind of foreign media presence (€¦) the streets were totally taken over by anti-riot troops yesterday (€¦) If there hasn't been any repression until now, it's because they knew that we, the foreign journalists, were there."

A member of a TV crew working for Italian state broadcaster RAI, a Reuters reporter and a France 3 journalist have been physically attacked by members of the security forces in Tehran. A BBC crew was threatened by police until demonstrators chased the police away. The correspondents of German TV stations ARD and ZDF were forbidden to leave their hotel rooms on 13 June. Two Dutch journalists working for the Nederland 2 TV station and a Belgian TV crew working for RTBF were arrested and expelled.

16 June - 3 pm. Well-known "Blogging Mullah" jailed

It is reported that Mohammad Ali Abtahi, also known as the "Blogging Mullah," was arrested this morning at his Tehran home. A vice-president during Mohammad Khatami's presidency, he had been acting as an adviser to Mehdi Karoubi, one of the opposition candidates in last week's presidential election. The news of his arrest is posted on his blog Webneveshteh (http://www. He is the second well-known blogger to be arrested since the election. The first was Somayeh Tohidloo (, arrested on 14 June.

16 June - Former newspaper editor arrested

It is reported that, although seriously disabled, Saeed Hajjarian was arrested at his Tehran home during the night. Following Khatami's election as president in 1997, Hajjarian was editor of the now-closed daily Sobh-e-Emrouz, which supported Khatami's reforms. After the newspaper exposed the involvement of intelligence officials in a series of murders of dissident intellectuals and journalists in 1998, he was the victim of a murder attempt in March 2000 that left him badly paralysed. He is seen as one of the strategists of the pro-reform movement.

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