Protest over Iranian journalists' rights
25 August 2017
The board of the Association of Tehran Journalists has resigned en-masse in protest at the ongoing refusal of the authorities to allow them to register their organisation.
The association has accused the authorities of "illegal processes" including attempting to impose unelected members to serve on the board.
Seamus Dooley, NUJ acting general secretary, said:
"The NUJ and our parliamentary group hosted a public meeting in support of Iranian journalists in the House of Commons in October 2013. Politicians involved at the time included Labour's Jeremy Corbyn and Conservative MP Ben Wallace.
"We were reinvigorating our campaign to re-establish the union office and called for journalists to be release from jail. We wanted to help our colleagues to push for change after the election of Hussein Rouhani.
"In 2013 Rouhani said that 'guilds and associations are the best ways to run social affairs of the society' and since then our colleagues have not given up on trying to re-establish their trade union in Iran.
"So today we are fully supportive of their actions and continue to back their demand for trade union rights and recognition."
Anthony Bellanger, IFJ general secretary, said:
"We respect the decision of board members to resign in protest at the intransigence of the authorities who are continuing to denying Iranian journalists their fundamental rights and will continue to support the right of all our colleagues in Iran to establish, organise and run their own union. We repeat our call for the restrictions on the AoTJ to be lifted."
This comes after years of hard work trying to relaunch the Association of Iranian Journalists. After the promises made by president Rouhani were not delivered, the journalists began to establish a new union/association in Tehran.
In an open letter to journalists and association assembly members, union leaders claim that despite "all of our efforts, negotiations, correspondence and follow ups" they have been unable to legally register the organisation for 8 months.
They claim the General Directorate of Cooperatives, Labor and Social Welfare in Tehran continues not to publish the announcement that the association has been established. They have also said there have been unofficial attempts to impose illegal solutions as preconditions for official union recognition.