NPR’s Ayesha Rascoe speaks to Yeganeh Rezaian senior researcher on the Committee to Defend Journalists, concerning the state of press freedoms in Iran.
AYESHA RASCOE, HOST:
Protests and labor strikes proceed in Iran following the September demise of a younger girl, Mahsa Amini, whereas in custody of the nation’s morality police. However the information that’s reported out of Iran comes at a heavy value to journalists there, who’ve been the goal of main crackdowns, with at the least 100 journalists being among the many hundreds of individuals arrested in latest months. Three of these journalists, Elaheh Mohammadi, Niloofar Hamedi and Narges Mohammadi, have been honored final week with the UNESCO Guillermo Cano Press Freedom Prize in absentia, as they continue to be locked up in Iran’s notorious Evin Jail. We’re joined now by Yeganeh Rezaian, senior researcher on the Committee to Defend Journalists. Welcome to this system.
YEGANEH REZAIAN: Thanks a lot for having me.
RASCOE: So we must always point out proper on the high that you just your self have been arrested in Iran alongside along with your husband, Jason, and also you have been imprisoned for a number of months. Are you able to inform us a bit about how a journalist is handled there?
REZAIAN: Sadly, journalists – as soon as they’re arrested on anti-state or safety prices, they instantly turn into political prisoners. Meaning they don’t seem to be handled any higher than every other political prisoners, particularly infamous prisons like Evin. They’re stored in very small cells, particularly in solitary confinement – in some circumstances, no rest room or quick entry to water, no window. The fluorescent mild is on 24/7. On a regular basis situation is horrible, but additionally the psychological strain may be very excessive as a result of what the safety forces do is to verify they hold pressuring you. And that is their tactic to get you confess to every thing you have not accomplished and mainly make false confession that they will later use towards you as proof.
RASCOE: Your analysis exhibits that over half the journalists detained in Iran proper now are girls. And these are mainstream journalists who’re protecting tales which might be assigned to them, proper?
REZAIAN: Sure. So I’ve to say that each one media in Iran is state-run media. So the federal government has full management over every thing that will get produced as media content material, whether or not for TV, state TV, or state newspapers or radio. And so they get assigned by their editors to do these tales.
And that is why the costs that they later label these journalists with do not make sense and are absolute farce. As a result of as soon as these journalists have been assigned to go and canopy such a narrative, they by no means thought that they’ll be charged with, for example, espionage or spreading propaganda towards the system.
RASCOE: The Committee to Defend Journalists listed Iran as the highest jailer of journalists for 2022. How efficient is that this tactic in silencing the tales about what’s unfolding within the nation with individuals demanding extra rights and authorities accountability?
REZAIAN: What I wish to let you know is that our analysis exhibits the regime’s techniques usually are not very profitable anymore. And as a lot as they’re nonetheless resorting to them, they don’t seem to be efficient anymore. As a result of we noticed throughout these protests within the final six months, Iranian journalists not solely stored protecting no matter that was occurring within the nation and the realities on the bottom very honestly, additionally they proceed to make clear the arrest of their colleagues and reported these of their respective medias, regardless of all the restrictions, but additionally used social media platforms to report on the arrested colleagues of them. Additionally, I wish to let you know that when an enormous variety of journalists have been arrested, and there was this void of protection within the state-run media, citizen journalists are the one who carried the torch and fantastically and bravely lined the protests and, once more, the realities on the bottom.
RASCOE: Do issues just like the UNESCO Prize do something to assist the reason for jailed journalists in a rustic like Iran?
REZAIAN: The priority about these recognitions is that on the similar time that it might make them untouchable, and the regime is aware of that the world is watching how these journalists are being handled, on the similar time it would make their imprisonment longer or with the upper prices. Notably within the case of overseas journalists, that is when the federal government use them as bargaining chip. Within the case of home journalists, that can make the regime to maintain them for an extended time, to verify the world forgets about them and their title’s not being talked about wherever else.
RASCOE: That is Yeganeh Rezaian, senior researcher on the Committee to Defend Journalists. Thanks a lot for becoming a member of us.
REZAIAN: Thanks for having me.
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