There is no freedom of expression and freedom of press in Iran. In the past couple of years, dozens of journalists have been picked up by security agencies for their alleged links to foreign media. The Iranian conservative leadership has even recently denounced Voice of America (VOA) and the BBC Persian service for allegedly provoking people against the regime. In a recent crackdown on media, Iranian security agencies have arrested 14 journalists from four newspapers and one news agency. The Iranian leadership shows zero-tolerance for journalists working for dissident media or outlets considered hostile to the regime.
Human rights activists working in the ultra-conservative country say that the recent crackdown on media is part of a broader campaign against the press before Iranian presidential election scheduled to be held in June this year. Definitely, the regime does not want media to tell people true picture about the country and how economy of the country has been destroyed in the past couple of years owing to bad policies of the regime. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is notorious for crackdowns against media and journalists. Reporters are not allowed to work for foreign media or even Persian-language newspapers and TV channels based in the United Kingdom and other European countries.
Iran has been blaming the United States and United Kingdom for inciting people against the regime and provoking unrest in the country like in other Arab countries, including Tunisia, Egypt and Syria. The Iranian leadership suspects that the US and European countries have installed their agents in the country under the garb of journalists for espionage on the country’s nuclear program. World powers suspect that Iran is developing nuclear weapons under the pretext of a peaceful nuclear program. However, Iran denies the charges and says that its nuclear program is for medical research and to fulfill energy needs of the country. For the last couple of years, the Iranian leadership and security agencies have been extra cautious about the role of media in the country.
The Iranian clerical leadership feels that the West may provoke unrest in the country before the June election in order to destabilize the country and to this unrest journalists may be instrumental. However, there has been no evidence of it. Security agencies picked up 14 reporters of different media outlets without giving any solid reason and also little is known about fates of these journalists. The Iranian leadership wants to keep media under control at all cost so that people could never know the truth and facts revolving around the country’s nuclear program and subsequent economic sanctions imposed by the US and its Western allies. World powers need to move the United Nations against Iran for initiating crackdown against journalists and freedom of press.