IranWire has received reliable information confirming that at least 60 journalists have been detained since anti-government protests erupted across Iran in the middle of September. Thirteen of them have been released as of now. Other journalists have been summoned, threatened and had their electronic equipment seized. Security agencies of the Islamic Republic have reportedly requested the detained journalists to cooperate with them.
A journalist in Iran says that some of the journalists are constantly worried that security forces would raid their homes at night. According to a journalist that has recently been forced to leave Iran, some have told their families they should keep calm if security forces in uniforms or plainclothes agents storm their homes.
To protect the journalists who gave information to IranWire, we have not used their names in this report.
A journalist who lives in Tehran tells IranWire that he has packed a bag with basic necessities so that he would be relatively prepared if security agents come for him: “I have packed medication, underwear and a few hygiene items in a backpack. I have told my spouse and my children that they might come at any moment and, if they do, they shouldn’t be afraid.”
Asked by his children whether he has broken the law, the journalist answered that his imprisoned colleagues had committed no crime and they have been arrested only because of their profession.
Besides reporters and photographers being taken to custody, others have been summoned and threatened. Their homes have been searched and their mobile phones and laptops have been confiscated. One of them tells IranWire: “Our only crime is our occupation. They used to tell us, ‘Don’t write what we don’t want you to write”, but now they say, ‘Write what we want you to write.’ This is the situation of journalism”.
Another journalist says: “A few of my close colleagues and I have talked to our lawyers. In case something happens and we are arrested they would defend our rights and the rights of our families. We do not have any real union or association to defend us, we have ourselves and nobody else. So, we taught our families what information they should provide and not to be tricked by interrogators.”
In recent days, many have criticized the Iranian community of journalists for their lack of support for the arrested colleagues. Critics say that while journalists have extensively reacted to the arrests of cinema and theater artists or sports figures, they have not seen a similar mobilization for arrested journalists.
On December 3, a picture was posted on social media that was greeted with expressions of grief by many. The picture showed a very old man with a walking stick who was standing in front of Tehran’s Evin Prison to protest the arrest of a group of theater artists who had staged a performance against the mandatory hijab, the brutal suppression of protests and the killing of demonstrators. This old man was Ali Rafiei, the renowned theater and movie director.
Earlier, the visits by veteran footballers Ahmad Reza Abedzadeh and Karim Bagheri to the prosecutor’s office to seek information about two arrested footballers, Voria Ghafouri and Parviz Boroumand, made the headlines.
But where are the veteran journalists when their colleagues are being detained, many journalists ask? The question is waiting for an answer.
Which independent institution supports journalists in Iran?
Perhaps the Association of Iranian Journalists can be viewed as the only relatively independent supporter of journalists in Iran. However, while a group of journalists trust this association, others are suspicious and believe it has been polluted by politics. Some journalists are now asking on social media: Has the Association of Iranian Journalists showed enough support for journalists who have been arrested or threatened?
A journalist tells IranWire that journalists are very unhappy about the passivity of established journalists. A former member of the association says that it could have performed much better.
“The association has the clear mission to support the rights and professional demands of its members,” says an independent journalist in Iran who is not a member of the Association of Iranian Journalists. “Those who have been elected as directors of the association have not taken any action similar to those of the House of Cinema and the House of Music (eds: two other professional associations in Iran), i.e., assign a committee to prepare a list of arrested journalists, record information about journalists who have been arrested or summoned, publish information about them and update this information”.
However, a current member of the Association of Iranian Journalists says that the association “has been in contact with the families, has provided legal aid and, in some cases, it has tried to speak with judiciary officials”.
List of Arrested Journalist:
1. Niloofar Hamedi, Shargh newspapers, arrested on September 21 in Tehran
2. Masoud Kordpour, journalist with Mukrian News Agency, arrested on September 20 in Bukan, West Azerbaijan
3. Vida Rabbani, photojournalist, arrested on September 24 in Tehran
4. Ruhollah Nakhaei, freelance journalist, arrested on September 23 in Tehran
5. Iman Behpasand, freelance journalist, arrested on September 22 in Tehran
6. Fatemeh Rajabi of Tehran’s newspaper Haft-e Sobh and Bourseon investment news website, arrested on September 22 in his home in Tehran
7. Yalda Moayeri, freelance photojournalist, arrested on September 20 in Tehran
8. Alireza Khoshbakht, freelance political journalist, arrested in Tehran
9. Mojtaba Rahimi, journalist based in Qazvin
10. Ahmad Halabisaz, photojournalist, arrested on September 24 in Tehran
11. Alireza Jabbari Darestani, journalist with Mehr News Agency, arrested in Tehran
12. Samira Alinejad, reporter with Sirjan Ravi news website, arrested on September 21
13. Farshid Ghorbanipour, literary journalist and manager of Soren Book online bookshop, arrested at around 3:30 a.m. in his home on September 25; released on December 7
14. Navid Jamshidi, economic reporter for Asia newspaper, arrested at midnight on September 29 at his home in Tehran
15. Jabbar Dastbaz, journalist, was harshly beaten and abducted by security forces on September 22 in Sanandaj, capital of Kurdistan
16. Elaheh Mohammadi, journalist with Ham Mihan newspaper, was arrested on September 29 in Tehran after being summoned by telephone
17. Mohsen Ravari, journalist in Jiroft, Kerman province, arrested on September 23
18. Aria Jafari, photojournalist with ISNA and head of the news agency’s photography service in Isfahan, arrested by security forces on September 25 in his home
19. Mehrnoush Tafian, journalist, arrested on September 27 in Ahvaz, Khuzestan Province
20. Shahram Azmoodeh, teacher and editor-in-chief of Talesh, arrested on October 1 at his home in the city of Hashtpar in Gilan Province
21. Siavosh Soleimani, journalist and veteran media activist in Urmia, arrested on October 1 in his home by agents of the Revolutionary Guards’ Intelligence Organization
22. Safieh Gharabaghi, journalist and women’s’ rights activist, arrested at her workplace in Zanjan on October 1
23. Alborz Nezami, journalist with the newspaper Donya-e Eghtesad, arrested on October 2 at his workplace
24. Ali Salem, journalist with the newspaper Shargh, arrested on October 3 at his workplace
25. Saman Ghazali, Kurdish journalist and environmental activist, arrested on October 1 in Mahabad, West Azerbaijan, after he was summoned to the Intelligence Bureau
26. Batul Balali, journalist with Fardaye Kerman news agency and the local magazine Pasargad in Kerman, arrested on September 22 and released on October 1
27. Fardin Kamangar, Kurdish Journalist and former director of Iran’s House of the Press and the Media, beaten and arrested on September 20 in Sanandaj, capital of Kurdistan province
28. Nasrin Hosseini, journalist with the local newspaper Etefaghieh in Bojnurd, North Khorasan, arrested on September 30
29. Samieh Masrour, reporter with the ILNA news agency, arrested on October 8 in Isfahan
30. Saba Sherdoost, freelance journalist, arrested on October 10 in Tehran
31. Omid Tahan Bid-Hendi, former reporter with Mehr News Agency, arrested at midnight on October 4 at his home in eastern Tehran; was taken to Fashafuyeh Prison
32. Farkhondeh Ashuri, former reporter with Fars News Agency, arrested on October 17 in Shiraz; was taken to an unknown location
33. Mandana Sadeghi, freelance journalist, violently arrested on October 19 in Abadan, Khuzestan; was taken to an unknown location
34. Farzaneh Yahya-Abadi, freelance journalist who previously worked with Mehr News Agency and then with local media outlets in Abadan, Khuzestan, arrested on October 19 in Abadan
35. Maryam Mazrouee, photojournalist, disappeared on October 5 but was reportedly released shortly afterward
36. Ehsan Pir-Bornash, sports journalist, arrested October 28 in Mazandaran Province
37. Maliheh Daraki, photojournalist, arrested on October 26 in Shiraz
38. Saeedeh Fathi, sports journalist who previously worked with the newspaper Hamshahri, arrested on October 16 at her home
39. Vahid Shamseddin-Nejad, reporter with the European TV channel Arte and resident of France, arrested on September 28 in Saqqez, Kurdistan; was transferred to Evin Prison in Tehran
40. Dr. Hashem Moazenzadeh, surgeon and administrator of PALNA, an independent Iranian medical community Telegram channel, arrested on September 25
41. Marzieh Amiri Ghahfarrokhi, freelance economic journalist, arrested on September 30; was taken to solitary confinement in Evin Prison
42. Yaghma Fashkhami, freelance journalist who previously worked with Didban Iran news website; arrested with his wife Mona Mafi on November 1 and released after a few hours of interrogation; rearrested on November 2
43. Nazila Maroofian, journalist with Didban Iran and Rouydad24 websites, arrested on October 30; was taken to Ward 209 of Evin Prison
44. Ayat Arefinia, administrator of Telegram channel Abdanan, most likely arrested on November 2 in Ilam
45. Omid Hormozi, producer of popular football podcast Sorkhabi, arrested on November 3; as taken to an unknown location
46. Mehdi Sofali, freelance sports journalist who previously worked with Jahan-e Football, was taken to Ward 240 of Evin Prison on October 12
47. Mohammad Zare Foumani, managing editor of the newspaper Sedaaye Eslahat, arrested on October 9
48. Fahimeh Nazari, journalist with Entekhab news website who focuses on history, arrested on November 13 in her workplace in Tehran; whereabouts unknown
49. Pourya Mahdavi Moghadam, reporter with ILNA, arrested on October 22 in Borujerd, Lorestan Province
50. Saba Abdollahi, editor-in-chief of the feminist publication Daad, arrested on November 15 in Arak, Markazi Province; whereabouts unknown
51. Malika Gharagozlou, journalist and student in journalism, arrested on October 1; was transferred to Aminabad Psychiatric Hospital on November 16, without her family or lawyer being informed
52. Maryam Vahidian, journalist with Shargh newspaper, arrested on November 28 at her home
53. Mehdi Amirpour, sports journalist, arrested at 2 a.m. on November 27 at his home; released on December 6
54. Reza Asadabadi, reporter with ILNA, arrested on November 23 at his home in Tehran by agents of the Revolutionary Guards’ Intelligence Organization; whereabouts unknown.
55. Nastaran Farrokheh, reporter with Shargh newspaper, arrested on November 27 at her home in Tehran
56. Hossein Yazdi, administrator of Iran Times news channel and managing editor of the website Mobin 24, arrested in Isfahan
57. Fatemeh Babakhani, reporter with the newspaper Payam-e Ma, arrested on September 18 during the first protest rally in Tehran over the death of Mahsa Amini; released the next day.
58. Kamiar Fakour, environmental journalist and labor activist, arrested on November 6
59. Hossein Esmaili, photojournalist, arrested in the street on October 11; was taken to the Greater Tehran Penitentiary
60. Mohsen Ahmadizadeh, journalist in Jiroft, Kerman Province; IranWire was unable to find a picture of him.
The following journalists have been released: Fatemeh Babakhani on September 19, Batul Balali on October 1, Shahram Azmoodeh on October 3, Fatemeh Rajabi on October 18, Ahmad Reza Halabisaz on October 1, Navid Jamshidi on November 23, Ali Salem on October 11, Mandana Sadeghi on November 27, Mehdi Amirpour on December 6 and Farshid Ghorbanpour on December 7.
These journalists have been freed but the date of their release is not known: Safieh Gharabaghi, Maryam Mazrouee, Fardin Kamangar, Samira Alinejad and Jabbar Dastbaz.