Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Iran Live Coverage: "Free Elections" and Detained Journalists

0635 GMT: Food Watch. The opposition site Rah-e Sabz reports a sudden 15% rise in the price of chicken in several provinces such as Khorasan and Tehran.

The spike may explain why the Government announced on Monday the release of 10,000 tonnes of frozen chicken.

0605 GMT: Press Watch. The reasons for the detention of 15 journalists, raids on five publications, and the suspension of another since Saturday are still unclear this morning, beyond the regime's declaration of their contacts with "anti-revolutionary" elements. On Monday, Minister of Culture Mohammad Hosseini said the imprisonment were not related to “press” activities: “It seems that they have been arrested over security accusations."

The raids appear to have been planned for some time. Reza Moini of Reporters Without Borders says some of the arrested journalists had been questioned by security officials before the weekend's operations.

Journalists from all over Iran, especially from Tehran, have been summoned by the security office of the Revolutionary Guards, and also the Intelligence Ministry, and interrogated.
They’ve been mainly asked about the June vote, especially about the recent speech of Iran’s leader Ayatollah Khamenei, in which he had called for an end to talk about free elections. Some of the journalists were warned and some were even told not to vote.

Moini claims that eight other reporters have been summoned for questioning.

One of the 15 journalists, Motahareh Shafiee, has been released for health reasons.

Green Voice of Freedom has photographs of all those detained.

Meanwhile, Baztab --- an Iranian website notable for its sharp criticism of the Government and President Ahmadinejad --- said that its off-line status on Monday was due to server problems, rather than pressure by authorities.

from EA WorldView: EA Iran

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