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In a new report, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) documents censorship that is being exercised in the name of religion and God.

In the report released on December 13, the Paris-based group says news and content providers in "far too many countries" constantly face what it calls this "very special and formidable form of censorship."

RSF says that in Iran, the Persian Gulf emirates, and some Christian Orthodox countries, journalists are "branded as heretics as soon as they dare to describe the far-from-holy practices of the regime and its clergy."

If they dare to denounce the atrocities of Islamist militants in Pakistan, RSF says, they are gunned down as infidels.

The group urges international institutions to reject attempts by some governments to have "blasphemy" and "defamation of religion" treated as violations of fundamental human rights.
UN special rapporteur on the human rights situation in Iran Ahmed Shaheed
The United Nations' special rapporteur on the human rights situation in Iran has started a fact-finding mission that involves questioning members of the Iranian diaspora in European countries.

Ahmed Shaheed on December 13 started a nine-day tour of Amsterdam, Berlin, and Paris to gather information about past and present rights abuses in Iran from members of the Iranian communities in those cities.

Among those Shaheed will meet with are student activists, university professors, lawyers, authors, publishers, former political prisoners, and representatives of minority groups such as women's rights organizations and organizations espousing the rights of the gay community in Iran.

Shaheed's findings will be presented to the Iranian government and to members of the UN Human Rights Council in March 2014.

Since being appointed in 2011, Shaheed has made several requests to visit Iran, all of which have been denied.

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