IRAN WATCH CANADA

Monday, September 25, 2006

IFEX - News from the international freedom of expression community
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ALERT - IRAN
25 September 2006
Government accuses journalists of being Western spies
SOURCE: International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), Brussels
(IFJ/IFEX) - The following is an IFJ media release:
Crackdown on media in Iran continues
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is deeply concerned by news that journalists in Iran have been placed under more pressure by government statements that imply journalists who travel overseas are engaged in spying.
According to IFJ affiliate, the Association of Iranian Journalists (AIJ), the Minister of Information released a statement this week which said the government's intelligence service had found that the West was recruiting journalists, students and workers for spying, by sending them overseas under the guise of research or study.
The AIJ has said this will put more pressure on journalists as any foreign trips could make them targets for accusations of spying.
"This sort of underhanded pressure from the government of Iran is particularly worrying in light of the recent closures of newspapers and increased crackdown on media," IFJ President Christopher Warren said.
The Shargh daily newspaper was reportedly banned on September 11, adding to the ever-increasing list of banned publications in Iran and leaving many journalists jobless.
The AIJ held a meeting on September 19 protesting the recent closures of newspapers.
"These recent incidents demonstrate Tehran's distaste for freedom of speech, and its unacceptable methods for dealing with independent voices in the media," IFJ President Christopher Warren said.
"Media workers all over Iran continue to face strict censorship, intimidation and often imprisonment for nothing more than doing their job," he said.
"We call on the government of Iran to implement safeguards for journalists and press freedom and to immediately release all journalists jailed for their reporting," Warren said.
The IFJ, the organisation representing more than 500,000 journalists in over 115 countries, stands in solidarity with Iranian journalists in their struggle for press freedom and editorial independence.
The IFJ represents more than 500,000 journalists in over 115 countries.
For further information, contact the IFJ Asia-Pacific, tel: +61 2 9333 0919, or the IFJ, International Press Centre, Residence Palace, Block C, 155 Rue de la Loi, B-1040 Brussels, Belgium, tel: +322 235 2200 or +322 235 2207, fax: +322 235 2219, e-mail: rachel.cohen@ifj.org, Internet: http://www.ifj.org/
The information contained in this alert is the sole responsibility of IFJ. In citing this material for broadcast or publication, please credit IFJ.
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