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SPJ outraged after execution of Iranian journalist Ruhollah Zam


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12/14/2020


CONTACT:
Matthew T. Hall, SPJ National President, 619-987-7786, mhall@spj.org
Zoë Berg, SPJ Communications Coordinator, 317-920-4785, zberg@spj.org

INDIANAPOLIS – The Society of Professional Journalists condemns the execution of dissident Iranian journalist Ruhollah Zam, who was hanged Saturday morning in Iran. SPJ joins Amnesty International, the Committee to Protect Journalists and Reporters Without Borders in expressing outrage at Zam’s execution.

“The killing of a journalist is reprehensible. It silences one but won’t stop the work of tens of thousands of others worldwide, including in Iran,” said SPJ National President Matthew T. Hall. “We want Ruhollah Zam’s killers to know his life will not be forgotten. It will spur us to work more diligently and share more truths with the world in his name.”

Zam’s online work helped inspire nationwide economic protests in Iran in 2017. His website AmadNews and a channel he created on Telegram had spread the timings of the protests and information about officials. Zam had been living in exile in France until October 2019 when he was tricked into traveling to Iraq where he was abducted and forcibly returned to Iran. In June, Zam was convicted of “corruption on Earth,” a charge often used for attempts to overthrow Iran’s government, and sentenced to death for his work.

CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Sherif Mansour said, “With the execution of Roohollah Zam, Iranian authorities join the company of criminal gangs and violent extremists who silence journalists by murdering them. This is a monstrous and shameful act, and one which the international community must not let pass unnoticed.”

Amnesty Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa Diana Eltahawy said, “His execution is a deadly blow to freedom of expression in Iran and shows the extent of the Iranian authorities’ brutal tactics to instill fear and deter dissent.”

Iran has been one of the world’s most repressive countries for journalists for the past 40 years, according to Reporters Without Borders. At least 860 journalists and citizen-journalists have been imprisoned or executed since 1979.

SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to informing citizens; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and fights to protect First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press. Support excellent journalism and fight for your right to know. Become a member, give to the Legal Defense Fund or give to the SPJ Foundation.

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