More Than 3,500 Petition Iran to Release Journalists, Writers

For Immediate Release

Committee to Protect Journalists
Contact: 

Meredith Greene Megaw
E-mail: mgmegaw@cpj.org
Telephone: (212) 465-1004 x105

More Than 3,500 Petition Iran to Release Journalists, Writers

NEW YORK - More than 3,500
concerned people from around the world-including prominent international journalists, writers, and press freedom leaders- are
petitioning Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei, to immediately
release dozens of journalists, writers, and bloggers currently imprisoned in
the country.

Among the respected journalists, writers, and other individuals who
have signed the petitions are Martin Amis, Jon Lee Anderson, Margaret Atwood,
E.L. Doctorow, Jonathan Franzen, Thomas L. Friedman, Nadine Gordimer, Gwen
Ifill, Ahmed Rashid, Jon Stewart, and Mario Vargas Llosa.

A coalition of free expression organizations delivered the petition today to
the Islamic Republic of Iran's Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York.
Petitioners' names were collected through Facebook and the
"Our Society Will Be a Free Society"
campaign, a coalition project dedicated to winning the freedom of all
journalists jailed in Iran.
Additional names of prominent petitioners can be viewed on the
campaign Web site.

"We hope those in jail will be heartened by this level of international
attention," said Joel Simon,
executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists, one of the sponsors
of the petition drive. "By
collecting these names from all corners of the world, we want to convey to our
imprisoned colleagues the depth of our concern and to Iranian authorities the
depth of our outrage."

The petitioners urge Ayatollah Khamenei to release all journalists,
writers, and bloggers now behind bars and to uphold the pledge of his
predecessor, Sayyed Ruhollah Mousavi Khomeini, who said in 1978 on the eve of
the revolution: "Our future society will be a free society, and all the
elements of oppression, cruelty, and force will be destroyed."

At least 34
journalists were jailed
in Iran
on April 1, according to CPJ research. Another 18 were free on short-term
furloughs coinciding with the Iranian New Year, but were expected to report
back to prison this week. CPJ has been conducting a monthly census of
journalists jailed in Iran,
now the world's worst jailer of the press.

The petition effort was organized by a coalition of 16 international
free expression groups: CPJ; Index on Censorship; Reporters Without Borders;
PEN American Center; International PEN; Canadian Journalists for Free
Expression; International Publishers Association; Article 19; World Association
of Newspapers and News Publishers; International Federation of Journalists;
National Press Club; World Press Freedom Committee; Observatory for the Freedom
of Press, Publishing and Creation; Institute of Mass Information; International
Women's Media Foundation; and Freedom House.

Those interested in joining the petition may still do so by visiting
the "Our Society Will Be a Free Society" campaign at www.oursocietywillbeafreesociety.org.

CPJ is a New York-based,
independent, nonprofit organization that works to safeguard press freedom
worldwide. For more information, visit
www.cpj.org.  

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