Omid Memarian

Saturday, July 24, 2004

here is a report that deals with the State of journalism in iran today. I have prepared it for the AOIJ. Here is the begining. to countinue the report you can click here.

The State of Journalism in Iran
 Prepared by:Association of Iranian Journalists (AOIJ)
Iran, by some, has been classified as the largest prison for journalists in the Middle East.  This statement accurately describes the current atmosphere of journalism in Iran.  During the last few years, many well-known Iranian journalists have left the country and some have chosen other professions in a quest for safety.  And, many have been sentenced to serve months and even years in prison. 
A cursory examination of the profession of journalism in Iran shows that journalists who choose to cover a number of topics, deemed as sensitive, risk their safety and freedom, as such, many choose not to write about these issues. Some of these restricted topics, which include both political and social issues, are indeed identified as restricted and announced as such by the judiciary and other conservative institutions, with oversight and other powers over the press, allowing them to check, limit and censor their freedoms accordingly.  However for many other topics deemed sensitive by conservative forces the lines remain murky and journalists are often left on their own to test and figure out the limits on free speech.  For those who cross redlines or push limits too far, whether intentionally or by accident, the price is high.  Because the distinctions between the restricted and allowed topics are murky and laws remain ambiguous, journalists are subject to arbitrary harassment on a variety of grounds, interrogations, accusations, legal charges and even jail sentences.  Political limitations and illegal interpretations of laws, in favor of political factions, play into this process. 
Last year was indeed a very difficult year for the Association of Iranian Journalists (AOIJ).  Those journalists covering political issues, especially the reform process and issues related to democracy, were especially targeted and suffered the brunt of the conservative back lash against the press. (To be countinued...)


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