Reporters Without Borders, widely known as RSF, the French abbreviation of its name, said Friday it has filed a complaint with the United Nations about the arbitrary arrests of journalists in Iran and the attacks on reporters' "freedom to inform."
The crackdown on journalists has come as demonstrations have sprung up across Iran following the arrest of a young woman for wearing her headscarf "improperly" and her subsequent death while in police custody.
The complaint filed Thursday with nine U.N. special procedure panels, RSF said in a statement, "details the many forms that the dramatic crackdown on journalists is taking since the popular uprising began in Iran, including arbitrary detention, inhuman conditions of detention, violation of defense rights, physical violence, threats and harassment, searches without warrant and confiscation of equipment."
RSF said female journalists "are among the leading victims of the Iranian patriarchal regime’s brutal response."
Iran has become the world’s biggest jailer of female journalists since the crackdown on reporters began in September, according to RSF. Iran was already the world’s third leading jailer of journalists and was ranked number 178 out of 180 countries on RSF’s 2022 World Press Freedom Index.
The press freedom organization also said Iranian authorities have targeted almost all means of communication and reduced internet access to next to nothing, cutting people off from free access to reliable information.
RSF also condemned Iran's attempts to silence foreign media by placing sanctions on international media outlets.
The organization's secretary-general, Christophe Deloire, said, "Every day we see fresh restrictions imposed on the media and journalists, and the breadth of this crackdown is growing outside its borders."
France, Germany and the United Kingdom are among the countries where media organizations are subject to Iranian sanctions, which include visa bans and the confiscation of property and assets in Iran.
It is unclear what property and assets would be involved since most of the organizations have not operated in Iran since 2009. However, there are fears that Iran could target journalists' family members and property still in the country.
Deloire said, "Violation of the rights of independent media and journalists will have consequences in many aspects of [Iran’s] relationships with the rest of the world."
Earlier this month the major general of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Hossein Salami, said, "We warn those who manage these systems of spreading news and spreading lies for chaos inside our country to stop these behaviors. You've tried us before, watch out because we're coming for you." (SJ/IANS)