Journalists Criticize Rouhani in Letter

October 3, 2014

            In a letter to President Hassan Rouhani, 135 journalists held his administration accountable for not fulfilling his campaign promise to create a more secure working environment for the media. The signers wrote that “it is unethical, unprofessional and insulting to deny the fact that, today, many journalists remain in prison in Iran for doing their jobs.”
            The group wrote the letter in reaction to Rouhani’s response to CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, who inquired about the detention of Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian in a recent interview. “I do not believe that an individual would be detained or put in prison for being a journalist,” the president told Amanpour. Rezaian, a dual U.S.-Iranian citizen, and his Iranian wife Yeganeh Salehi, a correspondent for the Emirates-based paper The National, were detained in late July. Salehi was released on bail during the first week of October but Rezaian remains in prison. The following is a translation of the letter by Iran Wire’s Maziar Bahari.

 
President Hassan Rouhani of Iran
 
Your Excellency, When you came to power in June 2013, you promised that you would create a more secure working environment for journalists and the media in our country.
 
Once again, in February 2014, you reminded the citizens of Iran of your election promises, stating that journalists should be entitled to greater security while doing their jobs. You said that shutting down a newspaper is not the right way to warn those who may have infringed on the law. 
 
We, the undersigned, expected you to take serious and practical measures to fulfill your promises.
 
Yet more than a year after resuming office, the demands and expectations of journalists have not been realized. In fact, in an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, you denied that there was anyone in jail in Iran for their work as a journalist.
 
You were once critical of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s administration and its habit of concealing and denying the truth. Your recent denial that a problem even exists echoes this sentiment, and remind us of its impact.
 
We, the undersigned journalists, believe that it is unethical, unprofessional and insulting to deny the fact that, today, many journalists remain in prison in Iran for doing their jobs. In fact, a number of journalists have been imprisoned during your presidency.
 
In our country, security agents regularly imprison journalists, denying them their basic rights simply for carrying out their duty: to inform the public. As the head of the executive branch, and as the second highest official of the land, whose responsibility includes supervising the execution of the constitution by different branches of the government, it is your duty to improve the situation of Iranian journalists.
 
At the very least, we expect you to correct your false statement concerning imprisoned journalists in Iran. But we hope for more, and we ask you to fulfill your promises to create a more secure environment for journalists in our country.
 
Signatories:
- Aida Ghajar
-  Ahmad Rafat
- Alieh Motalebzadeh
- Ali Asghar Ramezanpour
- Ali Shirazi
- Ali Mazrouei
- Alireza Latifian
- Amirhossein Mossala
- Arash Bahmani
- Arash Ashourinia
- Arash Azizi
- Behdad Bordbar
- Behrouz Samadbeygi
- Bijan Farhoudi
- Darioush Memar
- Delbar Tavakoli
- Ehsan Mehrabi
- Elnaz Mohammadi
- Ershad Alijani
- Fatemeh Jamalpour
- Farshad Ghorbanpour
- Fereshte Ghazi
- Farshid Faryabi
- Farahmand Alipour
- Fariborz Soroush
- Farid Haeinejad
- Farideh Ghaeb
- Firouzeh Ramezanzadeh
- Hamid Eslami
- Hamidreza Ebrahimzadeh
- Hanif Mazrouei
- Homayoun Kheiri
- Hossein Alavi
- Javad Heidarian
- Isa Saharkhiz
- Kamyar Behrang
- Kaveh Ghoreishi
- Khatereh Vatankhah
- Ladan Salami
- Lida Ayaz
- Lida Hosseininejad
- Leila Sa'adati
- Leili Nikounazar
- Maziar Bahari
- Maziar Khosravi
- Mana Neyestani
- Mani Tehrani
- Mahrokh Gholamhosseinpour
- Mojtaba Najafi
- Majid Saeedi
- Mohammad Aghazadeh
- Mohammad Tangestani
- Mohammad Hossein Nejati
- Mohammad Rahbar
- Mohammad Ghadamali
- Mohammad Kassaeizadeh
- Mohammadreza Nassababdollahi
- Mahmoud Farjami
- Morteza Kazemian
- Marjan Tabatabaei
- Maryam Amiri
- Maryam Jafari
- Maryam Shahsamandi
- Maryam Majd
- Mazdak Alinazari
- Masoud Behnoud
- Masoud Safiri
- Masoud Kazemi
- Masoud Lavasani
- Mostafa Khalaji
- Maliheh Mohammadi
- Mansoureh Farahani
- Mahdi Tajik
- Mehdi Jami
- Mehdi Ghadimi
- Mehdi Mahmoudian
- Mehdi Vazirbani
- Mehdi Mohseni
- Mehran Faraji
- Mehraveh Kharazmi
- Mehrad Abolghassemi
- Mehrdad Hojati
- Mehrdad Mashayekhi
- Mitra Khalatbari
- Meisam Youssefi
- Milad Beheshti
- Minou Momeni
- Nazanin Kazemi
- Nazanin Matin'nia
- Nasrin Zahiri
- Naeimeh Doustdar
- Negin Behkam
- Noushabeh Amiri
- Noushin Pirouz
- Nikahang Kowsar
- Nima Dehghani
- Niousha Saremi
- Omid Montazeri
- Parvaneh Vahidmanesh
- Panah Farhadbahman
- Pourya Souri
- Reza Ansarirad
- Reza Haghighatnejad
- Reza Rafiei
- Reza Shokrollahi
- Rouzbeh Mirebrahimi
- Roya Maleki
- Reihaneh Mazaheri
- Sara Damavandan
- Saghi Laghaei
- Sam Mahmoudi Sarabi
- Sanaz Ghazizadeh
- Sepideh Behkam
- Sahar Bayati
- Soroush Farhadian
- Saeid Shams
- Saeideh Amin
- Soulmaz Eikder
- Siamak Ghaderi
- Seyyed Mojtaba Vahedi
- Sina Shahbaba
- Shabnam Shabani
- Shahram Rafizadeh
- Shahrzad Hemati
- Shohreh Asemi
- Shirzad Abdollahi
- Shirin Famili
- Shima Shahrabi
- Saba Sherdoust
- Sadra Mohaghegh
- Tahereh Rahimi
- Tara Bonyad
- Taraneh Baniyaghoub
- Touka Neyestani
- Youssef Azizi Banitorof
 
Click here for the letter in Farsi.