Iranians denied independent reporting ahead of parliamentary election
As Iran prepares to elect its 290-member parliament on 21 February, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) deplores the fact that censorship and persecution are preventing the media from doing their job to provide the country’s 57 million voters with proper coverage of the election, which is clearly not going to be free or fair.
The governmental media are openly orchestrating the regime’s propaganda while the authorities continue to censor and regulate all media outlets. The goals are clear – to promote the biggest possible turnout and a comeback for conservatives who support Supreme Guide Ali Khamenei.
In response to the side-lining of moderates and critics, many leading figures who support the reformists or opposition are calling for a boycott of the elections.
Journalists who have posted information about corrupt candidates on online social media have been summoned for questioning by the various intelligence agencies or have been threatened by the candidates’ supporters. At least 21 journalists have been interrogated in different parts of the country in the past six weeks, while Revolutionary Guards have searched the homes or offices of six of these journalists.
The regime also continues to threaten and pressure Iranian and dual-national journalists who work for independent media outlets based abroad. The Islamic Republic is making every effort to deprive Iranians of access to independently reported news and information ahead of this election.
“The already extensive and ubiquitous censorship of Iran’s media has been stepped up even more in the run-up to the parliamentary election on 21 February,” said Reza Moini, the head of RSF’s Iran-Afghanistan desk. “Without a free press providing the population with access to independent information, an election is neither free, fair nor democratic.”
A total of 24 journalists and citizen-journalists are currently imprisoned in Iran, making it the world’s seventh biggest jailer of news and information providers. It is ranked 170th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2019 World Press Freedom Index.