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Tehran Targets Iranian Journalists Abroad

New York - Censorship and Power in Iran Panel, 08May2013.
New York - Censorship and Power in Iran Panel, 08May2013.
The Paris-based media watchdog Reporters without Borders (RSF) has accused Iran's national broadcaster of orchestrating threats against Iranian journalists working abroad.

RSF condemned a letter written on behalf of Hojbar Afshar, a London-based reporter who works for Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), accusing U.K.-based freelancer Masih Alinejad of defamation and warning her of possible legal proceedings.

“IRIB is a government propaganda mouthpiece and, in some cases, tool of repression," RSF said.

RSF also cited recent efforts by Iranian intelligence ministry officials to intimidate Arash Sigarchi, a reporter with the Voice of America in the U.S., by subjecting his relatives in Iran to arbitrary interrogations and threats.

"The regime must end its harassment of Alinejad and its reprisals against the relatives in Iran of Sigarchi and other exile journalists," RSF said.

Iranian reporters working abroad have suffered government attempts to silence them since the aftermath of the 2009 elections in retaliation for their efforts to provide uncensored information about events at home.

Journalists with Radio Farda, RFE/RL's Prague-based Persian Language Service, experienced over a dozen incidents of online harassment earlier this year. In addition they, like Sigarchi, were subject to pressure to stop reporting for Radio Farda as a result of intimidation tactics targeting their family members in Iran.