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Three Iranian journalists working for state media outlets are reported have been arrested in recent weeks, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.

The arrests of Mehrdad Sarjouei, Amir Ali Alamehzadeh, and Hadi Ahmadi add to a growing list of imprisoned journalists in Iran.

Numerous independent media outlets have been closed down over the past decade and many journalists have been detained or forced to leave the country.

Iranian opposition websites reported on September 25 that Alamehzadeh, who works for the Iranian Labor News Agency (ILNA), was taken into custody on September 17. His whereabouts are unknown.

Ahmadi, who writes for the economy section of the Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA), was arrested in Karaj, west of Tehran, earlier this month.

And the Kaleme website, which is close to opposition leader Mir Hossein Musavi, reported that Sarjouei, who writes the international section of English daily newspapers published in Tehran, was arrested more than two months ago. He is currently being held in Ward 209 of Tehran's Evin prison.

Sarjouei used to work in the international relations department of the Strategic Research Center of the Expediency Council.

Meanwhile, Gholamhossein Gheibparvar, head of the Fajr Revolutionary Guards in Fars Province, announced the launch on September 25 of the Basij Media Organization.

The head of Iran's Basij force, Mohammad Reza Naghdi, had previously said the purpose of establishing the Basij Media Organization was to "confront the propaganda invasion by [our] enemies."

Paris-based journalist Morteza Kazemian told Radio Farda that the Iranian authorities want to make the utmost use in the media of those forces that are loyal to the establishment.

Kazemian said those forces, which are financed from Iran's considerable oil revenues and supported by military institutions to carry out security projects, know the media play a significant role in shaping social movements in civil society.

Read more in Farsi here and here

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