Index on Censorship calls for the release of renowned Canadian-Iranian journalist and filmmaker
On Sunday (21 June), the Canadian-Iranian journalist and filmmaker Maziar Bahari was arrested in Tehran. He is currently being detained and has not been charged. He is one of 24 journalists and bloggers now being held, according to Reporters without Borders, and it has become virtually impossible for the media to cover events in Iran. The BBC has been denounced as an enemy of the Iranian nation and its correspondent Jon Leyne has been asked to leave.
Maziar, 41, is one of the most talented journalists of his generation — a writer, playwright, editor and documentary maker, as well as a news correspondent. He is also one of the bravest. He has consistently made films in Iraq since 2003, at great risk to his own safety, and his documentaries and writing add up to one of the most varied portraits of Iran over the past decade. His work includes a remarkable film about an Iranian serial killer And Along Came A Spider and, most recently, An Iranian Odyssey about the plot to overthrow Mossadegh in 1953. More than any other journalist working today, Maziar Bahari’s work gives a profound insight into the life and history of the country, partly because he is a creative writer as well as a reporter. His book Transit Tehran, an anthology of writing by young Iranians edited with Malu Halasa, offers an immensely rich portrait of modern life that defies categorisation. He has also contributed to Index on Censorship.
His detention marks a new low point for freedom of speech in Iran. He is the kind of journalist that Iran needs — to report on events, to analyse trends and to give the rare view of Iranian society that his work so consistently provides. Index on Censorship calls on the Iranian government to release Maziar Bahari and all journalists who are currently detained.