The members of the International Press Institute, meeting at their 63rd Annual General Assembly during the IPI World Congress on April 14, 2014 in Cape Town, South Africa, adopted by unanimous vote a resolution calling on the Islamic Republic of Iran to change its policies towards media outlets, journalists and media associations, and therewith ensure full respect of press freedom and journalists’ rights in adherence to Iran’s commitments to the international community.

As reported by IPI World Press Freedom Hero Mashallah Shamsolvaezin, 48 journalists are currently in prison in Iran, many held without charges in secret prisons. At least 500 newspapers and media outlets have been banned over the past 10 years and prevented from operating. Furthermore, the government in 2009 shut down under temporary orders the Association of Iranian Journalists, which included some 4,000 members, and has banned the association ever since.

IPI members noted that such restrictions are a violation of Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to which Iran is a signatory, and other international treaties that protect the journalists’ rights of assembly and to participate in the activities of journalists’ associations.

IPI members called on the Islamic Republic of Iran and its newly elected president, Hassan Rouhani, to show their commitment to ending Iran’s isolation and to becoming an active member in the international community by:

– Unconditionally releasing all journalists currently held in Iranian prisons in connection with their work, as the criminalisation of journalistic activities breaches international standards on human rights.

– Lifting restrictions on news outlets and on the publication of newspapers, and permit the free flow of information and opinions.

– Allowing the Association of Iranian Journalists to operate freely and carry out its mission in support of journalists across the country without interference by authorities.