A woman journalist who worked for the state-run Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA) was fired on April 21, 2020. Zeinab Rahimi, an environmental reporter, was fired for criticizing the Director of Public Relations at the Iranian Department of the Environment.
The dismissal of the woman journalist by ISNA was announced on social media on April 21.
In a recent interview on state-run television, Amir Abdulreza Sepanji, Director of Public Relations at the Department of the Environment, claimed that some environmental journalists had been in contact with foreigners. (The state-run Ensafnews website – April 21, 2020).
Iran moved down three places to 173 as one of the worst violators of press freedoms in the latest Reporters Without Borders (RSF) 2020 press freedom index.
The index ranks nations in terms of their pluralism, media independence, and transparency. In 2019, Iran ranked 170th; in 2020, it dropped three points to 173rd place. Iran is among the 17 countries marked in black on the Press Freedom Index map, indicating a “very serious situation.”
In its 2020 Press Freedom Index, RSF wrote, “The suppression of information, disinformation, official lies – methods used regularly by the Islamic Republic during times of crisis and disaster – have again been deployed since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. “
The RSF report continued, “Once the truth was out, the government did everything it could to restrict the flow of information about the crisis. Several journalists who published unofficial details about the crisis were summoned, questioned, and accused of ‘spreading rumors.’ One [journalist] who tweeted about the health conditions in prisons was arrested.”
In a statement on August 26, 2019, citing the wave of arrests and interrogations of women journalists, RSF declared, “Already one of the world’s five biggest jailers of journalists, Iran is now holding more women in connection with their journalistic activities than any other country in the world.”