Human rights experts from the United Nations have called on Iran to stop arresting, prosecuting, and harassing journalists and online activists ahead of parliamentary elections scheduled for early 2016.
Ahmed Shaheed, the UN special rapporteur on Iran, said on November 11 that “increasing intimidation of journalists” in Iran is “hindering their ability to operate freely in the country.”
Shaheed said there appears to be a new crackdown on freedom of expression and media in Iran, with intelligence and security officials arresting a number of journalists.
He said he was particularly concerned about the arrests on November 2 of five journalists by plainclothes members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.
According to Iranian state media reports, the journalists were detained on suspicion of “taking part in an infiltration network, seeking to influence public opinion, and undermining the Islamic republic on behalf of Western governments.”
Iran is one of the leading jailers of journalists and social activists in the world.