AFP: The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) on Thursday slammed Iran's "campaign of intimidation" against the media after offices of the main press association in Tehran were raided and closed.
BRUSSELS (AFP) — The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) on Thursday slammed Iran's "campaign of intimidation" against the media after offices of the main press association in Tehran were raided and closed.
The closure of the Association of Iranian Journalists, within hours of the swearing in of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for a second term after weeks of post-election unrest, "sends a chilling message about the country's attitude to press freedom," the Brussels-based IFJ said in a statement.
"Iran must not make journalists scapegoats for its political troubles," IFJ General Secretary Aidan White said.
"Journalism should be supported as a voice for democratic rights," said White, who took his complaint to the Iranian ambassador to the European Union.
White told ambassador Ali Asghar Khaji that up to 42 journalists held in jail should be set free and the Association of Iranian Journalists, an IFJ affiliate, should be allowed to function unhindered.
The IFJ chief called it a "difficult meeting" as the Iranian diplomat "wanted to express his frustration over international media coverage. He said it was heavily politicised, unfair and failed really to grasp the truth of what is going on Iran.
"I was anxious to point out that we are keen to avoid political manipulation from any side and we did not accept that the action (shutting down the association) was justified," he told AFP.
White said the building was raided by "security forces and police" late Wednesday then closed down.
"There must be an end to intimidation of journalists if there is to be a new dialogue," White said.
"Government actions against media and journalists erode further the credibility and standing of the government in national and world opinion."
The media complaint came shortly after the European Commission announced that it would not be sending any congratulations to Ahmadinejad for his disputed election win.