Media in Iran is the most unprotected segment of society: interview with secretary of Association of Iranian Journalists
Azerbaijan, Baku, July 31 / Trend , T.Jafarov/
Secretary and Member of the Presidium of Association of Iranian Journalists, Badr Al-Sadat Mofidi spoke with Trend Persian Desk in an exclusive interview.
Trend : During the developments that occurred in Iran after the presidential election, different reports were announced on the number of the arrested journalists. Can you provide reliable information on how many journalists have been arrested during these events?
Badr Al-Sadat Mofidi: Since the beginning of the events and so far, 50 journalists have been arrested. Of course, this number did not remain stable, that is, some of those arrested were later released. In general, I can say that about 24 journalists are under arrest due to the recent developments at the moment.
Q: What steps has the Association of Journalists taken to release the arrested?
A: So far, we have taken various steps in this direction. Moreover, we have issued a statement of protest. We had planned to hold a meeting of the Association and to convey our protest against the senior officials. But unfortunately, we could not do so. We were told that the safety of the participants of the meeting could be under threat. We wrote letters to the heads of Iran's judiciary Ayatollah Hashemi Shahroudi, which indicated that these arrests contradict the Constitution and the Law on "Media". In the letter, we expressed our dissatisfaction with the conditions of journalists and a ban on their relatives' visits. Some of those arrested so far have been unable to contact relatives. We asked the heads of the judicial system to release the arrested journalists and create the necessary conditions, while they are under arrest.
Q: According to IRNA, two photographers and journalists Majid Saeedi and Safiyar Imami will be brought to trial with the charge of "spreading photographs on the latest developments outside the country". What is Your attitude to such charges?
A: We are concerned about such charges against journalists and we are not familiar with the details of the case. We have such a question: why do some non-governmental agencies or the media agencies intervene in affairs of the judiciary and security forces? They spread reports, serving the interests of those bodies. I do not want to talk about the case of these two journalists, but, relying on a many-year experience, I will say that charging those whose guilt is not proved by the court is unreasonable and illegal.
Each journalist's task is to prepare news and photo-materials on the current events. And we are not able to claim if their photo-materials or articles are posted in a foreign or local publication. Preparation of materials and photography are their professional duties. I believe that the situation in the country is very complicated and attitude toward media is bias. Journalists have become the most unprotected segment of society.
Q: How many members of the Association of Journalists are currently under arrest?
A: Most of those arrested are members of the Association, which is the largest association of journalism in Iran. Its ranks include about 4,000 people. At the moment I cannot give accurate statistics about those members being under the arrest.