Iran's Judiciary Seeks to Muzzle Entire Country

Friday, October 4, 2002
Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) notes with dismay that in ordering the arrest of a pollster, the judiciary in Iran seeks to muzzle the free-expression rights of all its citizens. "This is unprecedented attack on free expression," CJFE Executive Director Joel Ruimy said. "It also represents another chapter in the sorry history of shooting the messenger." According to a media report, pollster Behrouz Geranpayeh was arrested and ordered to appear in court on charges of "publishing lies to excite public opinion." The head of Iran's government news agency, Abdollah Nasseri, also faces disciplinary action for publishing the poll. The court actions by Iran's judiciary follow a survey of 1,500 people over the age of 15 by Geranpayeh's National Institute for Research Studies and Opinion Polls. The poll, commissioned by Iran's Parliament, found that 74 per cent of respondents favour opening political talks with Washington while 46 per cent believe that U.S. policies on Iran are "to some extent correct." CJFE notes with satisfaction that the government of Iran President Mohammed Khatami condemned the court action and confirmed it had commissioned three surveys of Iranian attitudes toward the U.S. CJFE is an association of more than 400 journalists, editors, producers, publishers, students and others who work to promote and defend free expression and press freedom in Canada and around the world. For more information, contact CJFE at (416) 515-9622 or by e-mail at cjfe@cjfe.org

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