Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Iran Live Coverage: Detaining the Journalists

Campaign poster for 15 journalists imprisoned in late January

0615 GMT: Buddha Watch. Jaber Ansari, the Secretary of the Headquarters for Supporting and Protecting Cultural Works, has pulled back from his weekend statement calling for a ban on Buddhas in Iranian shops.

The official reportedly declared that the Buddhas were "an example for cultural invasion", with the "enemy wanting to spread certain kind of religion".

Ansari said on Tuesday, "Unfortunately, my remarks have been misinterpreted. I just meant the illegal imports of certain cultural works and items and in violation of the customs (rules and regulations). From our point of view, disrespect for the beliefs of other regions is unacceptable."

Ansari's original statement was widely reported in international media, with allusion to other restrictions such as the ban on the sale of Barbie dolls.

0559 GMT: Press Watch. The regime campaign against journalists continues, following the detention of 16 editors and reporters in late January.

Although one of the journalists, Javad Deliri, was freed on bail on Tuesday, the Ministry of Intelligence continued to warn "troublesome" elements in the media with the statement "that it has summoned and later released a number of reporters and journalists after briefing them about their rather unwilling links and connections with a media spy network run by the BBC in Iran":

During the trend of investigations, the other individuals linked to the (BBC-led) network of psychological operations were summoned and interrogated and also a number of others who were not aware of the nature of the network were also called in and were briefed about the covert goals and ill intentions of the network

The statement said four of the summoned people are on the run and one has escaped the country.

Thirteen of the 16 journalists seized in late January are still in prison. More than 100 have been detained since the disputed 2009 Presidential election, with dozens serving long sentences and others under threat of a summons back to prison.

In December, the Committee to Protect Journalists reported that 45 journalists were imprisoned in Iran, the second-highest figure in the world.

from EA WorldView: EA Iran

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