Reporters Without Borders has strongly protested against the Iran's relentless efforts to stifle free expression online after the arrest of five webloggers in less than two months, the latest on 28 November 2004.
"The government is now attacking blogs, the last bastion of freedom on a network that is experiencing ever tighter control," said the worldwide press freedom organisation. "At the same time, an Iranian delegate is sitting on a UN-created working group on Internet governance. The international community should condemn this masquerade," it added.
Mojtaba Saminejad was arrested at the beginning of November for speaking out against the arrest of his three colleagues in his blog (man-namanam.blogspot.com).
Farid Modaressi, a member of the student organisation the Office to Consolidate Unity, was arrested on 28 November on the order of the prosecutor's office in the city of Qom. He had posted a number of articles on his weblog (farid.blogset.com) exposing persistent harassment in the city by members of the conservative movement. Two of his brothers were reportedly arrested two days earlier and are apparently still being held.
The crackdown also continues against news websites. Hamed Motaghi, editor of Naqshineh.com, a webzine in Qom, was sentenced on appeal on 18 November to a three-month suspended prison term for "publishing false information with the aim of disrupting public order". His site has been inaccessible in Iran since March 2004.
Five cyberjournalists - Mahboubeh Abbasgholizadeh, Fershteh Ghazi, Javad Gholam Tamayomi, Omid Memarian et Shahram Rafihzadeh - are still imprisoned for contributing to reformist websites.
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