IFJ urges release of 30 jailed Iranian journalists

The Iranian authorities are still holding up to 30 journalists in the wake of the protests which surrounded the presidential elections in June last year, the International Federation of Journalists said today.

Those detained include the general secretary of the Association of Iranian Journalists Mofidi Badrossadat, the IFJ said as it renewed its call for the jailed journalists to be released as Iran celebrated its New Year yesterday.

IFJ general secretary Aidan White said: "We demand the release of all journalists whose continued detention has only served to show the country' intolerance of democratic debate. The New Year should usher in a new chapter in the relations between media and government which excludes threats and repression."

The Iranian authorites closed the AOIJ office in early August without giving any reasons.

According to the IFJ most of the detained journalists have never been charged. It said this shows that the Iranian government "acted solely to suppress independent reporting of the political crisis which exposed the level and strength of opposition to the regime following the dispute of June 2009".

White said: "A number of newspapers have also been shut down and internet sites blocked in a forlorn attempt to prevent information from reaching the outside world. The government's actions have counterproductive and detrimental to its best interests. Locking up journalists cannot guarantee news blackout in the digital world. The media void is likely to be filled with less professional, biased information providers."

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