A case of the pot calling the kettle black
|Jailed journalist Akbar Gangi|
Mohammad Ali Esfanani, the spokesman for Iran Majlis (parliament) Judicial and Legal Committee, criticized Turkey for its crackdown on journalists.
According to the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet (freedom), Mr. Esfanani told Khabaronline in an interview that "Although some journalists in Turkey have leveled criticism against the ruling system of the country, they cannot be suppressed on [the unsubstantiated] charges of being terrorists" (1).
"There are 450 cases of freedom of speech violations in Turkey at the European Court of Human Rights which indicates the lack of freedom of expression in that country" (1).
"Supporting journalists and freedom of speech is supporting democracy, and the Ankara government should take steps in the direction of respecting the rights of journalists and reporters"(1,2).
This comes on the heel of the media watchdog Reporters Sans Frontieres (RSF) report, which placed Iran as the 6th worst in the treatment of journalists (174th out of 179 countries in the RSF press freedom index for 2013), and fifth worst jailer of journalists (3,4).
Based on the RSF report used by Mr, Esfahani, the only countries worse than Iran in the treatment of journalists are: Somalia, Syria, Turkmenistan, North Korea, and Eritrea.
The first paragraph of the RSF report on Iran reads: "Iran is now on the threshold of joining the 'infernal trio' (Eritrea, North Korea, Turkmenistan), the world’s most repressive countries in the domain of freedom of the press. With almost 30 journalists and bloggers in custody, Iran has become the Middle East’s biggest and among the five biggest prisons in the world for journalists" (4).
Mr. Esfanani should have taken the time to read the full RSF report before deciding to ignore Iran's own appalling record and skipping to attacking Turkey for its poor treatment of journalists.
Photo credit: foriegnpolicyissues.blogspot, Iranian.com