Tehran journalists defend female reporters against official defamation

The Tehran Journalists Association has condemned the accusations made by two intelligence bodies against two female reporters for their coverage of the death of Mahsa Amini.

He said the statement issued by the IRGC and the Intelligence Ministry against two female journalists, who alerted the public to Amini’s injury and death in police custody, had no other message than to put an end to to journalism in the Islamic Republic.

Mahsa Amini was arrested on September 13 by the notorious hijab police and immediately received fatal blows to the head and died three days later in hospital. When the public became aware of the tragic event, protests began in major Iranian cities and continued for more than six weeks.

The statement by the group of journalists indicates that, based on the statement by the intelligence bodies, “journalism should be declared a crime and prohibited, since the normal activity of two of our colleagues in the exercise of their professional duties has been considered a crime”.

On Friday, Iran’s IRGC intelligence service and the Intelligence Ministry issued a statement regarding recent events in the country featuring Niloufar Hamedi and Elahe Mohammadi, two female journalists arrested days after protests began in September, as “foreign agents”.

They alleged that Niloufar Hamedi, who posted the photo of the late Mahsa Amini on a hospital bed, was “among those trained in special courses abroad”.

Popular nationwide protests sparked by Amini’s death have been the longest sustained movement against the Islamic Republic.

“Using a reporter’s cover, she was one of the first people to arrive at the hospital and provoke the relatives of the deceased and publish targeted information,” the statement added.

The intelligence services have provided no evidence that the two journalists have traveled abroad, received training or maintained links with foreign organizations.

The Tehran Journalists Association also slammed the Intelligence Ministry and IRGC Intelligence “to accuse two of the country’s most professional journalists of being trained abroad is seen as an insult to the intelligence of the public and of the community of journalists”.

The journalists’ association also denounced the “safe approach” to the profession of journalism, saying that not only is this approach “illegal and contrary to freedom”, but that it is also the main factor or at least one of factors causing the [current] crisis in Iranian society.

In its 43-year history, the Islamic Republic has arrested hundreds of journalists, and many have been killed inside and outside prisons. The regime tightly controls all print media and has a monopoly on radio and television. It also tightly censors internet content by blocking thousands of websites and major social media platforms.

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