After the rigged June 12 presidential election, as widespread demonstrations and protests gripped the country, many leading reformist journalists and bloggers were arrested and imprisoned. The pace of arrests has not slowed down. While some journalists have been released, many more remain incarcerated, and others handed long prison sentences. Some journalists who are also recognized as political figures have been treated harshly. Long stretches in solitary confinement has been a common feature of these incarcerations.
Last month Reporters Without Borders (RWB), the international press watchdog group, released its latest Press Freedom Index (PFI), a ranking of countries in terms of the degree of freedom that their journalists enjoy. Although Iran's ranking has never been high, it fell precipitously in the wake of the demonstrations that broke out this summer. The demonstrations gave rise to what RWB called "regime paranoia about journalists and bloggers." But, in fact, that paranoia has always existed in Iran.
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