On the anniversary of the start of the nationwide “Woman, life, freedom” protest movement in Iran, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has gathered 31 prominent women journalists from 19 countries around the world who have spoken out in solidarity with their courageous Iranian colleagues.
As women journalists have found themselves increasingly targeted as part of the Iranian authorities’ full-scale attack on independent media, their female colleagues around the world have joined RSF in speaking out on their behalf. Together they have called for the release of all of Iran’s journalists detained for covering Mahsa Amini’s death in police custody and the nationwide protest movement that it triggered. These include Niloofar Hamedi, Elaheh Mohammadi, Vida Rabbani, and Farzaneh Yahya-Abadi, who remain detained from this period and Narges Mohammadi, who continues to face pressure, threats, and attacks in Evin prison.
Among the 31 signatories of the appeal are Masih Alinejad and Rana Rahimpour, who have themselves been targeted by the Iranian regime for their Iran-focused journalism from abroad. Women journalists facing abuse, threats and attacks in their own country contexts have also joined the call, including Rana Ayyub from India, Lydia Cacho from Mexico, and Ghada Oueiss from Lebanon. Prominent UK-based journalists Lyse Doucet (BBC) and Lindsey Hilsum (Channel 4) have also added their voices to the appeal, along with Alex Crawford (Sky News).
“It is incredibly moving to see such strong international support for Iran’s courageous women journalists who have risked their freedom and safety to provide vital information about what is happening in their country. The targeted journalists bravely worked to give a voice to Iran’s women as they fought for their most fundamental rights, and now it is imperative that we lend our voices to them. We call for the Iranian authorities to put an immediate end to this persecution, to release the jailed journalists, and to allow journalists to do their jobs."
RSF’s Director of Campaigns
The signatories called for the Iranian authorities to put a stop to their relentless targeting of independent media, which is also an attack on the public’s right to know. “Journalists in Iran must be able to do their jobs, just as we are free to do our jobs in countries around the world. Journalism is not a crime!” they concluded.
The full text of the appeal is below. RSF has also published profiles of Niloofar Hamedi and Elaheh Mohammadi, as well as a detailed analysis of the press freedom crackdown that has accompanied the protest movement in Iran over the past year.
Iran is ranked 177th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2023 World Press Freedom Index.
APPEAL IN SOLIDARITY WITH IRAN’S COURAGEOUS WOMEN JOURNALISTS
As women journalists from around the world, we are uniting to express our unequivocal support for Iran’s courageous women journalists. We stand in solidarity with our Iranian colleagues who have faced enormous pressure, in particular those targeted over the past year for covering Mahsa Amini’s death in police custody and the nationwide “Woman, life, freedom” protest movement that it triggered.
One year since Iranians took to the streets to demand protection of women’s rights, we note our deep concern over the targeting of Iranian journalists in connection with their reporting on the movement. We condemn the targeting by Iranian authorities of at least 30 women journalists who were interrogated, arrested or detained during the year, among the 79 journalists arrested in total. Four women journalists who were arrested during this period remain in detention to this day. We call for the immediate and unconditional release of all of these journalists.
We particularly note the emblematic cases of Niloofar Hamedi and Elaheh Mohammadi, who have been detained in Evin prison since September 2022, facing severe prison sentences or even the possibility of the death penalty. Niloofar Hamedi was among the first to reveal the story of Mahsa Amini’s death by publishing a photo of Amini’s grieving family in the hospital. Elaheh Mohammadi was the only journalist to cover Mahsa Amini’s funeral. These two journalists were targeted for their roles in informing the country - and indeed the world - and giving a voice to Iran’s women.
We also speak out in solidarity with Narges Mohammadi, who continues to face pressure, threats and attacks in Evin prison for advocating on behalf of her fellow women prisoners, including the journalists who have joined her in prison over the past year.
We join Reporters Without Borders (RSF) in this appeal of solidarity with these courageous women, and to call for their immediate and unconditional release from prison. We further call on the Iranian authorities to put a stop to their relentless targeting of independent media, which is also an attack on the public’s right to know. Journalists in Iran must be able to do their jobs, just as we are free to do our jobs in countries around the world. Journalism is not a crime!
Masih Alinejad, Iranian journalist (USA)
Natalie Amiri, ARD (Germany)
Almudena Ariza, TVE (Spain)
Rana Ayyub (India)
Beata Balogova, SME (Slovakia)
Mònica Bernabé (Spain)
Lydia Cacho (Mexico)
Yaxue Cao, China Change (China)
Adriana Carranca (Brazil)
Swati Chaturvedi (India)
Bao Choy (Hong Kong)
Alex Crawford, Sky News (UK)
Lyse Doucet, BBC News (UK)
Nora Hamadi, Arte et France Culture (France)
Lindsey Hilsum, Channel 4 News (UK)
Shiori Ito (Japan)
Giselle Khoury (Lebanon)
Sherry Hsueh-li Lee, The Reporter (Taiwan)
Jineth Bedoya Lima, El Tiempo (Colombia)
Patrícia Campos Mello, Folha de São Paulo (Brazil)
Dina Meza (Honduras)
Ghada Oueiss, Al Jazeera (Lebanon)
Mónica García Prieto (Spain)
Imane Rachidi (Spain)
Rana Rahimpour, formerly BBC Persian (UK)
Esther Rebollo, Público, (Spain)
Dima Sadek (Lebanon)
Barbara Serra (Italy/UK)
Elza Sandrine Sawaodogo, L'Economiste du FASO (Burkina Faso)
Marcela Turati, Quinto Elemento Lab (Mexico)
Alexandra Maritza Wachter, ORF (Austria)