Despite arrests, threats, beatings and death, Iranian
journalists continue to push the envelope. The threat of a “creeping media
coup
” has spurred further crackdowns in recent months. In August, the
Iranian judiciary sentenced
Badrolsadat Mofidi,
head of the Iranian
Journalists Association, to six years in prison. Now there are confirmed
reports that Canadian Iranian blogger Hossein
Derakhshan
may face the death sentence.

This won’t be the first arrested
journalist with Canadian connections. Others include Iranian-Canadian Newsweek
correspondent Maziar
Bahari
,
documentary filmmaker Mehrnoushe Solouki,
a University of Quebec student and landed immigrant, and Iranian-Canadian
photojournalist Zahra Kasemi,
who tragically died at the hands of her captors.

What’s amazing is that Iran’s
citizen and professional journalists, including cartoonists,
keep going. Globally journalists have shown solidarity with petitions and
awards, including a George Polk award for the anonymous ‘Neda video’
shooters
, and an International Press Freedom Award for
Iranian journalist Jila Baniyaghoub.
On a practical level, the daily struggles of
such journalists inspired Canadian students to create Tehran-To.ca,
a multimedia news portal covering post-election Iran. Such expressions of
support are important to the survival of independent journalism in Iran, which
is bloodied but not bowed.

Despite arrests, threats, beatings and death, Iranian
journalists continue to push the envelope. The threat of a “creeping media
coup
” has spurred further crackdowns in recent months. In August, the
Iranian judiciary sentenced
Badrolsadat Mofidi,
head of the Iranian
Journalists Association, to six years in prison. Now there are confirmed
reports that Canadian Iranian blogger Hossein
Derakhshan
may face the death sentence.

This won’t be the first arrested
journalist with Canadian connections. Others include Iranian-Canadian Newsweek
correspondent Maziar
Bahari
,
documentary filmmaker Mehrnoushe Solouki,
a University of Quebec student and landed immigrant, and Iranian-Canadian
photojournalist Zahra Kasemi,
who tragically died at the hands of her captors.

What’s amazing is that Iran’s
citizen and professional journalists, including cartoonists,
keep going. Globally journalists have shown solidarity with petitions and
awards, including a George Polk award for the anonymous ‘Neda video’
shooters
, and an International Press Freedom Award for
Iranian journalist Jila Baniyaghoub.
On a practical level, the daily struggles of
such journalists inspired Canadian students to create Tehran-To.ca,
a multimedia news portal covering post-election Iran. Such expressions of
support are important to the survival of independent journalism in Iran, which
is bloodied but not bowed.

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Patricia W. Elliott is a magazine journalist and assistant professor at the School of Journalism, University of Regina. You can visit her at patriciaelliott.ca.