Iran: Press freedom violations recounted in real time January 2020 News Follow the news on Iran Help by sharing this information IranMiddle East – North Africa March 18, 2021 Find out more IranMiddle East – North Africa to go further News Receive email alerts Organisation February 25, 2021 Find out more RSF_en June 9, 2021 Find out more Reporters Without Borders protested strongly today against a three years and 10 months prison sentence passed on theology student Mojtaba Lotfi for allegedly posting “lies” on the Internet. “The Iranian regime has once more shown it does not tolerate criticism, even from its own religious people,” the worldwide press freedom organisation said.Lofti was released on bail of 650 million rials (80 000 euros) after his 14 August sentence by a religious court in the holy city of Qom pending an appeal at a date not yet announced. He was tried in late July.———————————–3.08.2004Taking tougher line on Internet, authorities try cyber-dissident and draft harsh bill Reporters Without Borders voiced concern today about increased efforts by the Iranian authorities to gag the Internet, including the trial of a theology student at the end of July for a message posted on a news website and a proposed law that would throttle online dissent.”The authorities recently took a tougher line with online publications and we saw censorship being stepped up since the legislative elections in February,” the organisation said. “Now they seem to be going a step further by directly targeting cyber-dissidents and by preparing a bill that would give a legal basis for cracking down.”Cyber-dissident brought to trialMojtaba Lotfi, a theologian and former journalist with the reformist daily Khordad (which was closed in 2000), was arrested at the start of May and imprisoned in the holy city of Qom. Reporters Without Borders has been told that he was tried at the end of July for “spying” and for “publishing false information” but the judicial authorities have not announced their verdict.Lotfi posted an article entitled “Respect for human rights in cases involving the clergy” on www.naqshineh.com, a website based in Qom. Naqshineh is also subject to judicial proceedings, in particular because of articles about the recent legislative elections. The site has been blocked since March on the orders of the Qom authorities.Disturbing billReporters Without Borders has examined the official draft of the proposed law “on the punishment of crimes linked to the Internet,” published in February in the newspaper Iran. It would create a legislative framework that would severely restrict free expression online.It proposes prison sentences of one to three years for the dissemination of “information that poses a threat for the country’s internal or external security” and five to 15 years if the information is passed to “foreign states or foreign organisations.”The bill envisages combatting “nauseating” content such as “sexual organs or sexual acts, including those involving heterosexual relations as well as homosexual relations or relations with animals.” The sentences proposed for this kind of offence are up to a year in prison and a fine of 10 million rials (950 euros).One of the most serious crimes in this draft law is the dissemination of “false information” about the Supreme Guide or other regime officials, which is punishable by six months in prison and a 10 million rials fine.The bill also defines the responsibilities of Internet companies such as cybercafés and ISPs, which would be required to monitor all content to which they offer access, and would have to block “nauseating” or illegal sites. They would also be required to alert the police and help identify those responsible for disseminating such content.Cybercafé and ISP owners who did not comply would risk sentences of up to five years in prison, the closure of their company and a ban on working in the Internet sector for as long as the judge saw fit. They would also be required to preserve all connection data and the identity of their clients for three months after each online session.The police would not need a judge’s authorisation in order to search Internet users’ homes or the premises of any legal entity involved in Internet activity. And when carrying out searches, the police would be able to confiscate any computer equipment or computer files. At the same time, an individual or company could refuse to let the police conduct a search, in which case the police would have to get a court warrant.In its final section, the bill’s authors say the legislation should conform to international norms and conventions concerning the Internet and they propose that a commission be set up both to study this issue and to explain the Islamic Republic’s measures to the international community. But they add: “the foreign laws will not apply if they are contrary to the sharia or Iranian law of if they run counter to the country’s security and interest.” After Hengameh Shahidi’s pardon, RSF asks Supreme Leader to free all imprisoned journalists August 18, 2004 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Student gets nearly four years for criticising regime online News News Call for Iranian New Year pardons for Iran’s 21 imprisoned journalists
DES MOINES, Iowa — Advocates for equal rights last week were handed a major victory by the U.S. Supreme Court which said federal law protects LGBTQ individuals from workplace discrimination.An Iowa group said it hopes the ruling will give an immediate boost to the transgender community. Courtney Reyes, executive director of One Iowa, said the state has its own laws to protect against workplace discrimination. But, she said, transgender individuals still face challenges.“We know that most people feel pretty comfortable around gay and lesbian folks, but we come into a lot of pushback from individuals not accepting transgender individuals,” Reyes said.She said even though Iowa has been a national leader in adopting policies that support the LGBTQ community, there are still examples of workplace discrimination. In 2019, a former state official won a lawsuit arguing he had received a pay cut because he is gay.Reyes said in states such as Iowa, where policies already exist to prevent an employer from outright discrimination based on an employee’s sexual orientation, the more subtle forms of discrimination still exist.“It’s those microaggressions that push people out, and so that’s why we focus on how do we make that environment safe and secure and inclusive,” she said.She said that’s why it’s important to have corporate leaders set a tone that says any discrimination – regardless of the form it takes – will not be tolerated.Legal experts say the court ruling is significant because unlike Iowa, nearly half the states have no legal protection for LGBTQ employees. They say the court ruling now makes it clear that federal law does protect them.