LONDON: Media rights watchdog Committee to Protect Journalists has demanded the release of all journalists detained while reporting on anti-government protests in Iran.
“Iranian authorities must immediately and unconditionally release all journalists arrested while covering mass protests around the country and restore blocked internet access to the country,” the CPJ said in a statement on Thursday.
As reported by CPJ, Iranian authorities have arrested at least seven journalists since protests began last Saturday.
A government-imposed, near-total internet blackout has caused major disruptions to phone networks and social media apps, making it difficult to obtain further information about individuals who have been detained.
According to exile-based Iranian human rights group Hengaw Organization for Human Rights, clashes between security forces and protesters have left 15 people dead and 733 injured.
“Iranian authorities must immediately release all journalists arrested because of their coverage of Mahsa Amini’s death and the protests that have followed,” said CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa program coordinator, Sherif Mansour.
“Iranian security forces must drop their repressive measures against the journalists telling this critical story and restore the internet access that is vital to keep the public informed.”
Protests erupted across Iran last week following the death of Amini, a 22-year-old woman detained by morality police after allegedly violating Iran’s strict hijab law.
Women first took to the streets to protest against police brutality and call for more freedom from Islamic law, which requires them to cover their hair and wear long, baggy clothing.
In the past few days protests intensified, with other women posting online videos of themselves cutting their hair and burning the hijab.
On Monday, authorities arrested photojournalist Yalda Moaiery. Two days later, reporter Niloofar Hamedi was detained after security forces raided her home and confiscated personal devices.
Recent events in Iran have provoked an international outcry, with protesters staging rallies in front of Iranian embassies worldwide.