Monday, January 24, 2005

Iran - Torturing Bloggers

The LA Times is reporting "About 20 online journalists and bloggers have been jailed. Some say they were tortured and forced to publicly denounce their work."

After toiling for years to silence dissent within the Iranian republic, the mullahs have turned their war against free press to the last reserve of open political debate: the Internet. Since the summer, Iran's Web loggers, or bloggers, and online journalists have been demonized as CIA collaborators, their work whitewashed from many Iranian computers with filters.

"They can't accept the free exchange of ideas and equality offered by the Internet," said Sayed Mustafa Taj-Zadeh, an advisor to reformist President Mohammad Khatami. "They had to crack down on it." [...]

The arrest of online journalists and bloggers began last fall. The writers say they were tortured and forced to publicly denounce their work. Even technicians who worked on Web pages have been imprisoned. President Khatami has ordered an investigation into the reports of torture.

"They think that now that they've closed the papers they should concentrate on the Web logs," said Ali Mazroui, Hanif's father and a former reformist lawmaker. "They think if they close this new source of information, they'll have control."

The Committee to Protect Bloggers is following the events.

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