World Association of News Publishers

Protest Campaign - Iran, 22 April 2015

Protest Campaign - Iran, 22 April 2015

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His Excellency Hassan Rouhani
President of the Islamic Republic of Iran
Islamic Republic of Iran

22 April 2015


Your Excellency,

We are writing on behalf of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) and the World Editors Forum, which represent 18,000 publications, 15,000 online sites and over 3,000 companies in more than 120 countries, to express our serious concern at the charging of journalist Jason Rezaian with four serious crimes, including espionage, carrying up to 20 years in prison.

According to reports, Mr Rezaian, the Washington Post's Tehran bureau chief, is being charged with espionage, collaborating with hostile governments, propaganda against the establishment and collecting classified information. The charges against Mr Rezaian, who has been detained since 22 July 2014, were brought last December but had remained secret. Mr Rezaian was arrested with three others, who were later released, and has since been held in Tehran's Evin prison. The indictment reportedly alleges that he gathered information "about internal and foreign policy" and provided it to "individuals with hostile intent".

We respectfully remind you that jailing Mr Rezaian for carrying out his professional duties constitutes a clear breach of the right to freedom of expression, which is guaranteed by numerous international conventions, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 19 of the Declaration states: 'Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes the freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media, regardless of frontiers.'

We respectfully call on you to ensure that Mr Rezaian is immediately released from prison and that all charges against him are dropped. We urge you to respect the work of journalists, local and foreign, and to ensure that in future your government fully observes its international obligations to freedom of expression.

We look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.

Yours sincerely,

Tomas Brunegård
World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers

Erik Bjerager
World Editors Forum


WAN-IFRA is the global organization for the world's newspapers and news publishers, with formal representative status at the United Nations, UNESCO and the Council of Europe. The organization groups 18,000 publications, 15,000 online sites and over 3,000 companies in more than 120 countries.


Andrew Heslop's picture

Andrew Heslop


2015-04-22 13:56

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In countless countries, journalists, editors and publishers are physically attacked, imprisoned, censored, suspended or harassed for their work. WAN-IFRA is committed to defending freedom of expression by promoting a free and independent press around the world. Read more ...