|Date: 07/08/2012 Time: 11:13:00 PM
Today is Journalists' Day in Iran. But in reality,
Iran's journalists have little to celebrate, Britain said tonight.
The Committee to Protect Journalists ranks Iran fourth in the top 10 most
censored countries in the world, behind only Eritrea, North Korea and Syria,
the Foreign Office (FO) said.
The Iranian Government heavily controls the media in Iran. "Many state
journalists work to propagate the regime's half truths and lies", the FO said
in a statement on its website. Being independent or asking questions of
authorities is often dangerous.
The Iranian Government heavily controls the media in Iran. Right now,
around 42 journalists and 19 bloggers are imprisoned in Iran for so-called
"crimes against national security", the statement noted.
They are often held in appalling conditions and subject to ill health. At
least seven national newspapers and magazines were shut down in 2011.
Foreign outlets are targeted too. In recent months, staff and their
families from BBC Persian and Radio Farda have been threatened and
intimidated, the FO went on.
Many websites are blocked and foreign satellite TV is often jammed.
For his part, Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt said: "Being a
journalist in Iran is often a dangerous job. The regime has made clear its
intention to silence any alternative views and control the information which
reaches the Iranian population - impossible in the modern age".
The Iranian authorities have recently even banned domestic media from
reporting on the poor state of the economy, he added.
"Despite these restrictions, many brave Iranians continue to try to report
the facts from and within Iran, often at significant risk to themselves and
their families". He paid tribute to their bravery and their efforts to shine a
light on the activities of their government.
Freedom of expression is a fundamental right for all peoples. The minister
pledged that the UK will continue to call on the Iranian authorities to stop
gagging Iran's journalists, and we will work with our EU partners to sanction
those responsible for human rights abuses in Iran.