A statement to protest AOIJ linguistic discrimination to join IFJ

 

Iran- Kurdistan- Association of Iranian Journalists (AOIJ) joined the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) in 1997, but in 2009, two months after the presidential election, the former Prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi shut down the entity. Despite various attempts to reopen the center, to this day the association remains officially inactive. Its elected head Rajabali Mazrooei currently lives outside of Iran.

 In the past few years, IFJ has issued press passes for several Iranian journalists. The applications were monitored by some self-appointed AOIJ members who were not elected by other members.

 Recently, AOIJ has called out, in Persian(Farsi), on eligible applicants to submit their documents to receive press passes.

 One of the eligibility criteria for the application reads, “only documents and writing samples in Farsi would be eligible. Avoid submitting samples in other languages.”

 The stated linguistic discrimination is against the international laws for journalists as well as human rights. In a multicultural country like Iran, this criterion is a blatant violation of the right of journalists who write in their mother tongues, such as Kurdish, Turkish, Arabic, Balouchi, etc.

 Even though non-Farsi speakers in Iran have faced restrictions in applying their mother language in media and educational systems, they are offered the opportunity to publish in bi-lingual publications alongside Farsi. For this reason, some journalists only write in their own language and not in Farsi.

 To deprive journalists who write in their mother tongue from joining international circles is an unacceptable act of discrimination. This condition not only violates global laws, but also Iran’s law that allows some marginal use of mother languages.

 IFJ identifies itself as part of “international unions” and is against discriminations and using media as a platform to spread propaganda, prejudice or to declare war.

 We are a group of journalists who stand against AOIJ’s linguistic discrimination and demand that this group immediately revoke the Farsi-only criteria.

 The independent journalists signing this statement include but are not limited to those who write in languages other than Farsi, and we demand that AOIJ that identifies itself as part of an international organization remain respectful of multilingualism. Journalists’ value needs to be measured by their integrity and work ethics and not their language.

 Since the IFJ says it “promotes international action to defend press freedom and social justice through strong, free and independent trade union of journalists,” it should stand in the way of AOIJ’s attempt to reproduce linguistic discrimination already widespread in Iran.

 

Signatories:

 

Adnan Hassanpour

Afsar Abassi

Agiri Esmailnazhad

Ahmad Barahouei Nejad

Ahmad Rafat

Ahmad Seraj

Ali Ghanbari

Aliasghar Faridi

Alireza Sanei

Amanollah Shahbakhsh

Ammar Goli

Asghar Huseynzade

Ashkan Sadeghi

Ava Homa

Azad Sharifi

Behdad Bordbar

Behrooz Karami Mirazizi

Bijan Farhoodi

Chiya Mallak

Ebrahim Ahrari Khalaf

Ebrahim Mohajer

Ejlal Ghavami

Fakhteh Luna Zamani

Farhad Aminpur

Farhad Demirchi

Fariborz Sorush

Farzad Mahdavi

Frya Younessi

Fuad Haghighi

Habibollah Sarbazi

Hadi Arefi

Hero Mawludi

Hiwa Selimi

Hossain Alavi

Houshang Asadi

Iraj Adibzadeh

Jafar Mobshernia

Jani Diylan

Kamal Hosseini

Kamil Najari

Karim Dahimi

Kaveh ghoreishi

Kaveh Karimi

Kaveh Kermanshahi

Kerim Meresene

Khalil Ghazali

Kianoosh Tvakoli

Mahmoud Barahouei Nejad

Mohammadreza Torabi Notaj

Mohammadsedigh Kaboodvand

Mohsen Kakarash

Mstafa Shekhe

Nasir Piroti

Nasser Sina

Negin Behkam

Omid Barin1

Omid Baygizadeh

Parviz Bahadorzahi Rigi

Rahman Javanmardi

Rebin Rahmani

Sama Shamloo

Samane Saeb

Sasan Amjadi

Shabbo Mohammadjani

Shahed Alavi

Sherif Felah

Shler Bapiri

Siamak Ghaderi

Siamak Heydary

Susan Mohammadkhani Ghiasvand

Yousef Azizi Benitorof

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