Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Iran's Unhappy "Journalists' Day"

On August 10, Iranian media outlets commemorated the 9th anniversary of "Journalists' Day. Unfortunately, as Radio Farda reports, Iranian journalists have precious little to celebrate:

Mashaollah Shamsolvaezin, a spokesman for Iran's press freedom organization, says the threats and problems have hurt the process of free publishing in Iran. He says the "deadly mines" are behind journalists' job insecurity.

In an interview with Radio Farda, Shamsolvaezin says journalism is among the most perilous professions in Iran today, and offers no job security. He adds that while the government last year revoked bans on some Iranian publications, it is very reluctant to issue new licenses.

About 3,000 people are currently waiting for approval of their license applications. Moreover, the Judiciary Committee to Oversee Publications and Journals has shut down more than 12 publications in the past year.

Shamsolvaezin says that in the last Iranian year, 1,200 journalists lost their jobs, joining the ranks of 2,800 journalist unemployed since 2000. He says that during that same year, 20 journalists have been summoned to court and jailed on security charges.

Shamsolvaezin says many of the unemployed journalists have been forced to leave the country and live in exile. Others have switched to "a safer profession." He adds that some journalists also accept the "red lines and turn to self-censorship in order to be able to pursue their profession."


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