Over 20 journalists and media outlets and managers in Iran underwent judicial scrutiny in January 2024, a group monitoring freedom of speech and media in Iran reported.
According to Defending the Free Flow of Information (DFI) latest monthly report released on Friday, three journalists were detained during the month, while another journalist was apprehended to serve a sentence. Additionally, four journalists, in separate cases, were collectively sentenced to three years of imprisonment, fines amounting to 200 million rials (equivalent to approximately 350 dollars), two years of exile, and a two-year ban on leaving the country or engaging in online activities.
The charges levied against journalists during the period ranged from spreading misinformation to undermining public opinion, anti-government propaganda, disregarding hijab, insulting the political leadership, and disclosing classified documents.
Moreover, the press courts handed down criminal convictions against eight journalists, with sentences ranging from imprisonment to other punitive measures. Five journalists or media managers faced formal charges, leading to property confiscation for one individual and personal belongings seized by security institutions for another.
Throughout January, at least 13 newspapers and news websites came under judicial scrutiny, further exacerbating concerns regarding press freedom in the country.
The situation in Iran reflects a broader global issue, with Iran a leading persecutor of journalists among the ranks of China, Russia, and Belarus, and one of the most oppressive regimes concerning freedom of expression and media liberties. The pervasive nature of the crackdown on freedom of expression extends even to government-controlled media, highlighting the extent of the challenge facing journalists and media practitioners in Iran.