“Our Society Will be A Free Society” campaign launches petition

In response to the brutal crackdown against journalists and writers in Iran, Index on Censorship is joining a coalition of leading press freedom and free expression groups to launch a petition drive calling for the release of those imprisoned.

More journalists and writers are now in prison in Iran than in any other country in the world – of around 60, 47 of them are journalists. “I know my jailers in Iran were aware of the depth of international concern,” said Newsweek correspondent Maziar Bahari, who was jailed for 118 days in Iran. “We need to raise a similar outcry on behalf of the more than 60 journalists, writers and bloggers jailed there today. Adding your name to this petition will help us deliver the message that people around the world are watching.”

The “Our Society Will Be A Free Society” campaign – a reference to a pledge made by Ayatollah Khomeini on the eve of the 1979 Revolution – is gathering signatures for an online petition to be sent to Ayatollah Khamenei and President Ahmadinejad on 20 March, the Iranian New Year.

To sign the petition, visit the campaign website or access our page on Facebook.

“This is a reminder that freedom was an aspiration at the very heart of the Revolution and that it’s time for the Iranian government to honour its commitment to human rights – it can start by releasing the journalists, writers and bloggers in prison,” said Jo Glanville, editor of Index on Censorship’s quarterly magazine.

“The Iranian government is counting on the world to forget about the journalists and writers who have been imprisoned under cruel conditions,” said Joel Simon, executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists. “We can’t allow that to happen.”

Index on Censorship, the Committee to Protect Journalists, PEN, Reporters Sans Frontières, Canadian Journalists for Free Expression, Article 19, WAN, the International Federation of Journalists and the International Publishers Association have joined forces for “a sense of shared, urgent concern for the welfare of journalists, writers and bloggers and a profound alarm over the situation for free expression in Iran”.

The “Our Society Will Be A Free Society” campaign will run through the Iranian New Year, with events aimed at building pressure for the release of writers and journalists in prison in Iran continuing in North America and Europe through the spring.

For more information about the campaign and to find links to upcoming events and relevant articles please visit www.oursocietywillbeafreesociety.org.