Iran marked Journalists’ Day on Tuesday against the backdrop of several prominent reporters who remain behind bars.
August 8 is a day set aside in Iran to remember a state media reporter and eight Iranian diplomats who were killed in Afghanistan in 1988.
As media in Iran marked the day, journalists Niloufar Hamedi and Elaheh Mohammadi remained in prison.
Hamedi and Mohammadi were detained last September for their coverage of the death and funeral of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurdish woman whom Tehran police arrested that month for allegedly not following Iran’s strict Islamic dress code.
Amini’s death in police custody triggered months of nationwide protests.
Iranian officials said the two journalists had been indicted on charges of collaborating with the United States, acting against national security, and creating “propaganda against the system.”
A U.S. Department of State spokesman has rejected allegations the journalists had been collaborating with the United States.
On Tuesday, the Ham-Mihan newspaper paid tribute to Journalists’ Day by featuring Mohammad and Hamedi on its front page.
In an article titled “Journalists: Lonelier Than Ever,” the paper said, “Journalism these days has gotten riskier, like a daring adventure. The tough side of journalism is rooted in how our society is currently. Nothing seems to be in the right place, and wherever you look, problems pop up like crazy. People are unhappy about everything. But when we write about their pain, we must be super careful with every word, lest our communication create an issue.”
Akbar Montajabi, a journalist and the chief editor of Sazandegi newspaper, penned an article titled “A Challenging Year.” In it, he stated, “Journalists are not adversaries.”
The Khabar Online website also featured an article by Jalal Khoshchehreh, where he said, “Media’s current landscape is tough to navigate, leaving managers in a tight spot: should they stand up for the profession and its obligations or shield their team members who are facing unexpected challenges in the line of duty.”
Media rights organizations report that since September 2022, at least 95 journalists have been taken into custody in Iran, with at least 24 of them being women. Consequently, Iran has currently assumed the unenviable distinction of being the global leader in imprisoning both journalists and female journalists.
According to the World Press Freedom Index 2023 issued by Reporters Without Borders on May 3 to coincide with World Press Freedom Day, Iran is considered one of the world’s worst countries for press freedom. It has been ranked 177th out of 180 nations in worldwide assessments of press freedoms, followed by Vietnam, China and North Korea.
Source : VOA News