The head of the Union of Journalists in Tehran province marked Iran’s National Journalist's Day on August 8 by declaring that journalism in the country is going through a "dark era," with an increasing number of media workers being arrested, dismissed, censored or forced into exile.
“The era of journalistic suppression continues,” Akbar Montajabi said on Twitter, noting that over 100 journalists were arrested over the past 11 months.
"However, even with these arrests, the flow of information remains unstoppable and finds its path like water," he added.
In an article published in Sazandegi newspaper, Montajabi insisted that "journalists are not adversaries" to the country.
"Those who steadfastly remained, holding the torch for freedom, are not foes. They do not cooperate with hostile governments, they are an integral part of the people. Journalists mirror the pain endured by the nation,” he wrote.
روزنامهنگاران دشمن نیستند. آنانی که ماندهاند و روزنهی آزادیخواهی را باز نگه داشتهاند، دشمن نیستند؛ با دولت متخاصم همکار نیستند؛ بخشی از همین مردمند. روزنامهنگار درد را نشان میدهد. بله، انعکاس درد، درد دارد. اما خود مسئولان منشأ این درد و رنج بودهاند نه روزنامهنگاران. pic.twitter.com/eVTTFbElso— اکبر منتجبی (@MontajabiAkbar) August 7, 2023
Meanwhile, Hammihan newspaper compiled a list of 76 journalists, reporters and photographers who have been detained since the onset of nationwide protests sparked by the death in police custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in September 2022.
The report said that those media workers faced a range of punishments including imprisonment, community service, travel bans, flogging, restrictions on their social media activities and prohibition to use a mobile phone.
On August 8 last year, two women journalists who have been in jail for 320 days for having reported about Amini's death were awarded by the Tehran Journalists' Association for their courageous coverage of social issues.
Niloofar Hamedi and Elahe Mohammadi are being held at Tehran’s Evin prison. They are accused of collaborating with the "hostile" government of the United States, colluding to commit crimes against national security, and engaging in propaganda activities against the regime.
Their separate trials ended last month after two closed-door hearings, and the court is now drafting a verdict.
In a tweet, prominent Iranian journalist and translator Asadollah Amraee wrote: "Congratulate Journalist's Day when there are no journalists left in prison."
Iran ranked as the world’s worst jailer of journalists in the Committee to Protect Journalists’ (CPJ) 2022 prison census, which documented those behind bars as of December 1.