IFEX members deliver petition demanding the release of imprisoned journalists
Among the more than 3,500 writers, journalists and press freedom supporters from around the world to sign the petition are Martin Amis, Jon Lee Anderson, Margaret Atwood, E.L. Doctorow, Jonathan Franzen, Thomas L. Friedman, Nadine Gordimer, Gwen Ifill, Ahmed Rashid, Jon Stewart, and Mario Vargas Llosa.
Petitioners' names were collected through Facebook and the "Our Society Will Be a Free Society" campaign, a coalition project dedicated to freeing all journalists jailed in Iran. At least 35 journalists were jailed in Iran on 1 April, reports the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). Another 18 were released on short-term furloughs for the Iranian New Year, but were expected to report back to prison within days. CPJ's February census cited 52 journalists in Iranian prisons. Many jailed journalists are under tremendous pressure to admit to crimes they did not commit, including crimes that may carry the death sentence.
The petition effort was organised by: ARTICLE 19; Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE); CPJ; Index on Censorship; Freedom House; International PEN; Institute of Mass Information (IMI); International Federation of Journalists IFJ); International Women's Media Foundation (IWMF); International Publishers Association (IPA); National Press Club; Observatory for the Freedom of Press, Publishing and Creation (OLPEC); PEN American Center; Reporters Without Borders (RSF); World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA); and the World Press Freedom Committee (WPFC).