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Armenian Journalists Urge Release Of Iranian Colleagues

Many Iranian journalists and bloggers have been rounded up in Iran.

Many Iranian journalists and bloggers have been rounded up in Iran.

Armenian journalists are signing a petition urging the release of their Iranian colleagues who have been arrested in the ongoing crackdown that followed Iran's disputed presidential election, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports.

The petition, which is posted on the Internet and has been signed by some 25 journalists thus far, declares: "We, the undersigned Armenian journalists and photographers, are deeply worried about the fate of dozens of our colleagues and comrades in Iran."

Taguhi Torosian, an independent journalist who initiated the petition drive, says, "The main purpose of those arrests [is] to keep [the journalists] from spreading truthful information."

According to the Paris-based group Reporters Without Borders, 49 Iranian reporters and bloggers have been arrested by Iranian authorities since the start of massive opposition demonstrations against the alleged rigging of the June 12 vote.

Torosian claimed that the crackdown on the nonstate media in Iran sets a "dangerous precedent for Armenia, because not all is well with freedom of speech here."

The Armenian government also used lethal force to end massive street protests and arrested scores of opposition members following last year's presidential election. But unlike Iranian officials, the Armenian government refrained from jailing reporters.

The journalists' petition includes the statement: "We hope that our colleagues will be freed as soon as possible and be able to continue their activities freely and objectively" and wishes "strength and patience" to the families of those arrested.