PRESS RELEASE - Paris, France, and Brussels, Belgium, 30 November 2010.
For Immediate Release Press Groups Protest Against Arrest of German Journalists in Iran The World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) and the World Editors Forum, together with the European Newspaper Publishers' Association (ENPA), have called on Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to release two German journalists who were arrested while interviewing the son of a woman condemned to death by stoning. The journalists, identified only as a reporter and a photographer for Bild am Sonntag, were arrested on 10 October during an interview with the son of Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani, who has been sentenced to death by stoning on charges of adultery. The authorities accused them of travelling on tourist visas and working illegally. Bild am Sonntag launched a public appeal last week after the reporters were shown on Iranian state television apparently confessing to their "crimes". In a letter to President Ahmadinejad, the international press organisations noted that the arrests violated numerous international conventions and asked him "to ensure that the two German journalists and all others jailed for exercising their right to freedom of expression are immediately released and their sentences overturned." At least 23 journalists remain in prison in Iran, making the country one of the world's worst for jailing media professionals. Most are being held on vague anti-state charges and face lengthy prison sentences, often under harsh conditions. Among the journalists in prison is Ahmad Zeid-Abadi, laureate of the 2010 WAN-IFRA Golden Pen of Freedom, who was sentenced in 2009 to six years imprisonment and received a lifetime ban on practicing his profession as a journalist. The letter to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said: "We are writing on behalf of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA), the World Editors Forum and the European Newspaper Publishers Association (ENPA), to call for the immediate release of two German journalists who are facing charges of visa violations. "The journalists, a reporter and a photographer, were arrested while interviewing the son of Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani, a woman sentenced to death by stoning on charges of adultery. The authorities accused them of travelling on tourist visas and working illegally. Bild am Sonntag launched a public appeal last week after the reporters were shown on Iranian state television apparently confessing to their "crimes". "We respectfully remind you that prosecuting journalists for carrying out their profession violates 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 the two German journalists and all others jailed for exercising their right to freedom of expression are immediately released and their sentences overturned. We urge you to take all necessary steps to ensure that in future your government upholds international standards of freedom of expression and freedom of the press." ***** 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. ENPA, based in Brussels, represents over 5,200 national, regional and local newspaper titles, published in 23 European Member States plus Norway and Switzerland. More than 150 million newspapers are sold and read by over 300 million Europeans every day, in addition to the millions of unique daily visits to online newspapers websites. The World Editors Forum (WEF) is the organisation within WAN-IFRA for chief editors and other senior newsroom personnel.
xecutive Director of ENPA,
Square du Bastion 1A, 1050 Brussels, Belgium.
Tel: +32 (0)2 551 01 90
Executive Director of Communications and Public Affairs, WAN-IFRA,
7 rue Geoffroy St Hilaire, 75005 Paris, France.
Tel: +33 6 10 28 97 36
The European Magazine Media Association, is the unique and complete representation of Europe’s magazine media, which is today enjoyed by millions of consumers on various platforms, encompassing both paper and digital formats. EMMA represents 15,000 publishing houses, publishing 50,000 magazine titles across Europe in print and digital.www.magazinemedia.eu
The European Newspaper Publishers’ Association (ENPA) is the largest representative body of newspaper publishers across Europe. ENPA advocates for 16 national associations across 13 European countries, and is a principal interlocutor to the EU institutions and a key driver of media policy debates in the European Union.www.enpa.eu