The United States called on the Iranian government to release all jailed journalists on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day.
Yesterday, on May 2, the U.S. posted on its Virtual Embassy Tehran-U.S. website an article by Michael H. Posner, Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, saying: “As people all around the world are observing World Press Freedom Day, which is being hosted by UNESCO in Tunisia this year, hazards against journalists are on the rise.”
He added: “Up to last December, the Committee to Protect Journalists counted 179 jailed journalists across the world, 42 alone of which are in Iran.”
Reporters Without Borders has referred to Iran as the biggest jail for journalists.
Posner reports that according to human rights observers, the number of jailed Iranian journalists and bloggers has climbed to about 90 people since January 2012, while “those who are on the outside continue to face threats, attacks, arrests, disappearance or murder for attempting to report news.”
Posner points out that Iran is a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and yet it “continues to directly or indirectly subject the media to censorship.”
Posner adds that in addition to filtering and supervising traditional media outlets, the Iranian government is creating a “National Internet” that would completely cut off its citizens from the rest of the world.
Posner writes: “When journalists are threatened and attacked… and fear replaces the truth, all of society suffers for it.”
The U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy goes on to say: “We urge the Iranian regime to take necessary steps to create a space so that independent media can act without fear of violence and persecution. We also honour the brave journalists and bloggers and citizens who sacrifice their life, health and freedom to inform others about the truth.”