CJFE Concerned by Media Restrictions Following Iranian Elections



    TORONTO, June 17 /CNW/ - Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE)
is extremely concerned with the recent media restrictions imposed by the
Iranian authorities following disputed election results.
    According to results announced June 13, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was
re-elected as president. The results have been challenged by defeated
opposition candidate, Mir-Hossein Mousavi, and many of his supporters have
taken to the streets in protest. Although censorship of pro-Mousavi media
began before the election, restrictions on coverage of protests against the
government have increased dramatically since the disputed results were
released.
    "We are all extremely concerned about what is happening in Iran," stated
CJFE Board member Morteza Abdolalian. "The government needs to let the media
do their work without restrictions."
    At least 10 Iranian journalists and bloggers are thought to have been
detained and two female journalists have been physically attacked. Among those
arrested yesterday were editor Mohammad Atrianfar and blogger Mohammad Ali
Abtahi. Today two more journalists were arrested, Abdolreza Tajik and Saeed
Leylaz.
    Various newspapers and television stations have been shut down or
censored by security services. And, satellite television, mobile phone and SMS
messaging networks have been jammed.
    The internet has played an important role in helping spread information
but it is being monitored and controlled by Iranian authorities. Social
networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook have been blocked in recent
days; however, some Iranians are still able to access and post important
information on these sites.
    Foreign media are also affected by the crackdown with journalists from
media organizations such as the BBC receiving warnings from the Ministry of
Culture and Islamic Guidance to remain indoors and refrain from covering
protests; if they do cover protests, the Ministry claims that their safety
cannot be guaranteed.
    CJFE is dismayed by the restrictions and attacks on media coverage which
mean that once again the citizens of Iran are denied their basic right to free
expression and access to information.

    Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) is an association of more
than 300 journalists, editors, publishers, producers, students and others who
work to promote and defend free expression and press freedom in Canada and
abroad. www.cjfe.org





For further information:

For further information: Julie Payne, CJFE Manager, Canadian Journalists
for Free Expression (CJFE), 555 Richmond St W., Ste. 1101, P.O.B. 407,
Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5V 3B1, Tel: (416) 515-9622 ext. 226, Fax: (416)
515-7879, Email: jpayne@cjfe.org - http://www.cjfe.org


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