Iran Detains Seven Journalists, Cites Ties to Radio Farda
Iran’s Intelligence Ministry issued a statement on Sunday announcing the arrest of seven individuals allegedly linked to Radio Farda. The statement claims the arrested “received training in the soft overthrow of the regime”, had a “key role in collecting and sending news abroad” and provoked protesters during the post-election unrest, specifically the December 27 Ashura demonstrations.
Denying the claims of the Intelligence Ministry, Radio Farda Director Armand Mostofi said the arrests should be viewed in the context of the ongoing crackdown on journalists in Iran, which has intensified in the pastsix months: “Radio Farda has no official or non-official employees in Iran. Many listeners inform us of what is happening in the country through a variety of means -- SMS, email, or phone calls.” As to the Intelligence Ministry’s claim that Radio Farda held training courses for the detainees, he says it sounds rather like “a joke”.
Radio Farda Listeners Respond
- A Tehran-based Radio Farda website visitor addressed Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei with a written comment: “If you want to arrest the reporters of Radio Farda, you should put 70 million Iranians in jail.”
- Another visitor also left a comment directed at the Supreme Leader: “You can accuse us of being ‘spies for East and West’, ‘threats to your security’, ‘enemies of God’ or other charges, but we will retrieve our country from you.”
- Totalitarian regimes are intimidated by the free flow of information, according to another visitor: “We, the Iranian people ask the U.S. government to help us have more access to free media.”
Mass Arrests of Journalists
A number of noted Iranian journalists have been arrested by security forces. Reza Moini of Reporters Without Border tells Radio Farda fourteen journalists have been detained since last Wednesday: “With more than sixty five journalists now in jail, the free flow of information in Iran is seriously threatened.”
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