Thursday, October 02, 2014

Iranian Journalists to Rouhani: Stop lying Mr. President

Political Cartoon by : Nik Kosar 

October 2, 2014

In a public letter, 135 Iranian journalists have responded to president Rouhani's recent claim, stating that journalists are not detained for being Journalists in Iran. In his recent interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour, Mr Rouhani in response to a question on the fate of Iranian-American reporter Jason Rezaeian said: "I do not believe that an individual would be detained or put in prison for being a journalist.” The public letter, signed by 135 Iranian journalists residing inside and outside Iran is in response to Mr. Rouhani's denial of the fact that many Iranian journalists have been, and are in prison for doing their jobs, but under other charges and allegations, such as "undermining national security" or "spreading lies for deceiving the public".

President Hassan Rouhani of Iran
Your Excellency, When you came to power in June 2013, you promised that you would create a more secure working environment for journalists and the media in our country.
Once again, in February 2014, you reminded the citizens of Iran of your election promises, stating that journalists should be entitled to greater security while doing their jobs.
You said that shutting down a newspaper is not the right way to
warn those who may have infringed on the law. 
We, the undersigned, expected you to take serious and practical measures to fulfill your promises.
Yet more than a year after resuming office, the demands and expectations of journalists have not been realized. In fact, in an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, you denied that there was anyone in jail in Iran for their work as a journalist.
You were once critical of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s administration and its habit of concealing and denying the truth. Your recent denial that a problem even exists echoes this sentiment, and remind us of its impact.
We, the undersigned journalists, believe that it is unethical, unprofessional and insulting to deny
the fact that, today, many journalists remain in prison in Iran for doing their jobs. In fact, a number of journalists have been imprisoned during your presidency.
In our country, security agents regularly imprison journalists, denying them their basic rights simply for carrying out their duty: to inform the public. As the head of the executive branch, and as the second highest official of the land, whose responsibility includes supervising the execution of the constitution by different branches of the government, it is your duty to improve the situation of Iranian journalists.
At the very least, we expect you to correct your false statement concerning imprisoned journalists in Iran. But we hope for more, and we ask you to fulfill your promises to create a more secure environment for journalists in our country.

- Aida Ghajar
-  Ahmad Rafat
- Alieh Motalebzadeh
- Ali Asghar Ramezanpour

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