Iran has been one of the world’s most repressive countries for journalists for the past 40 years, according to the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) in its annual report.
The report says that state control of news and information is unrelenting in Iran and at least 860 journalists and citizen-journalists have been imprisoned or executed since 1979.
The Islamic regime exercises extensive control over the media landscape and its harassment of independent journalists, citizen-journalists and independent media has not let up.
They are constantly subjected to intimidation, arbitrary arrest and long jail sentences imposed by revolutionary courts at the end of unfair trials. The media that are still resisting increasingly lack the resources to report freely and independently.
As a result, it is the citizen-journalists on social networks who are now at the center of the battles for freely-reported news and information and for political change in Iran. The regime has extended its fight against media freedom beyond the country’s borders and also targets the international media.
Iran continues to violate ‘freedom of speech’
Soheil Arabi is a photographer, blogger, and civil rights activist who was arrested by the Revolutionary Guards Corps in November 2013. He was initially sentenced to death for “blasphemy”. The death penalty was later dropped due to an international outcry.
In November 2017, Reporters Without Borders gave its RSF-TV5MONDE Prize to Soheil Arabi. He was awarded for being an Iranian Citizen Journalist.
The Iranian blogger, Sattar Beheshti died four days after Iran’s Cyber Police Unit took him into custody in 2012. Numerous reports have surfaced detailing the harsh nature of his interrogations and the torture he suffered at the hands of the authorities — including being hung from the ceiling by different parts of his body.
Beheshti was the author of a blog entitled “My Life for My Iran,” which is thought to have been the reason for his arrest.