Dozens of prominent women journalists from across the world have joined Reporters Without Borders (RSF) in appealing to the Iranian authorities to put an end to their “relentless” targeting of independent media and to release all jailed journalists.
“Journalists in Iran must be able to do their jobs, just as we are free to do our jobs in countries around the world. Journalism is not a crime!” the 31 signatories said in their joint appeal coinciding with the first anniversary of the start of the nationwide “Woman, Life, Freedom” protest movement in Iran.
The signatories expressed their “unequivocal support for Iran’s courageous women journalists” who have faced “enormous pressure” over the past year for covering Mahsa Amini’s death in police custody and the nationwide protests that it triggered.
They said that the authorities have interrogated, arrested or detained at least 30 women journalists over the past year, among the 79 journalists arrested in total.
Four women journalists who were arrested during this period remain in detention to this day.
The appeal cites the emblematic cases of Niloofar Hamedi and Elaheh Mohammadi, who have been detained in Tehran’s Evin prison since September 2022.
The signatories of the appeal include Masih Alinejad and Rana Rahimpour, who have been targeted for their Iran-focused journalism from abroad. Women journalists facing abuse, threats and attacks in their own country contexts also joined the call, including Rana Ayyub from India, Lydia Cacho from Mexico and Ghada Oueiss from Lebanon. UK-based journalists Lyse Doucet (BBC) and Lindsey Hilsum (Channel 4) have also added their voices to the appeal, along with Alex Crawford (Sky News).
“It is incredibly moving to see such strong international support for Iran’s courageous women journalists who have risked their freedom and safety to provide vital information about what is happening in their country,” said Rebecca Vincent, RSF’s Director of Campaigns.
“The targeted journalists bravely worked to give a voice to Iran’s women as they fought for their most fundamental rights, and now it is imperative that we lend our voices to them."
Iran is ranked 177th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2023 World Press Freedom Index.