IFJ Reiterates Call for Release of Imprisoned Iranian Journalists and Opening of Iranian Union

The International Federation of Journalists has reiterated its call for the President of Iran, Hassan Rohani, to release journalists imprisoned in the country and reopen the headquarters of the country?s Association of Iranian Journalists (AoIJ).
In a letter sent to the President, the IFJ welcomes the President?s approach to press freedom in Iran over the last five months. ?Since your election, we have welcomed every statement you have made about press freedom in Iran and the role of journalists in upholding the right of Iranian citizens to receive reliable and trustworthy information,? says the letter, signed by IFJ President Jim Boumelha.
However, the letter advises the President that the world community of journalists have been horrified by the judicial process that has put journalists in Iran in jail and the abusive treatment they face every day they spend in prison.
The letter also reminds the President of his view that ?guilds and association are the best way to run the social affairs of society,? and expresses its hope that this will mean the offices of the Association of Iranian Journalists (AoIJ) can be reopened.
In addition, the IFJ notes the President?s position on social media in Iran, recalling his interview on CNN when he described social networking as a welcome phenomenon and supported the right of the people of Iran to ?access all information globally and use it.?
The IFJ expresses its hope that the Presiden’ts public statements mark the beginning of the end of tactics used to intimidate independent media and create self-censorship such as blocking websites, banning publications and surveillance of legitimate journalistic work.
The IFJ adds: ?However, for all these laudable statements to start having an impact, it is crucial that your government orders the lifting of the closure of the Association (AOIJ) and the immediate release of journalists in jail.?
The letter follows a call made by the IFJ on 17 June of this year, shortly after the President came to power, which requested that the President-elect make good on his promises and end intimidation and violence against journalists in Iran.
As part of its campaign for the re-opening of the AoIJ office in Tehran, the IFJ and its affiliates have organised a number of events on Iran in recent years. Most recently, on 25 June the IFJ took part in a round table discussion at the European Parliament about the ?Future for Freedom of Expression and Independent media in Iran,’ while on 24 October, the IFJ was involved in the ?Free Iranian Journalists? campaign?s discussion for UK parliamentarians at the House of Commons in London.

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