Iran arrested and detained a journalist who criticized the state’s response to the novel coronavirus outbreak on social media.

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) interrogated Mohammad Mosaed on February 22, 2020, according to an interview he gave to BBC Persian shortly after he was let go.

In a series of tweets, Mosaed accused the government of failing to prepare for an outbreak such as the coronavirus. He also slammed the government’s response to it when it struck in January, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Mosaed, who is from Rasht in northern Iran, told BBC Persian that the IRGC warned him that “his social media activities can be examples of crimes.”

The IRGC then banned Mosaed from reporting, and suspended his Telegram and Twitter accounts, according to Iran Wire.

In another tweet, Mosaed said that two candidates running in February’s general election in the city of Rasht, northwestern Iran, were linked with the IRGC, the CPJ reported.

Mosaed told BBC Persian he was ordered not to conduct any interviews with media outlets.

“Right now, I’m waiting for my trial date to be announced to appear before the court for the case that was opened against me in November,” he told BBC Persian.

In November 2019, Mosaed was jailed in Iran’s notorious Evin prison, which is run by the IRGC, after he was arrested over two earlier tweets which criticised the regime. He was let out on bail after 16 days.

Iranian authorities arrested Mosaed on November 22 in Rasht for tweets that he sent amid Iran’s internet shutdown and subsequent protests, the Committee to Protect Journalists reported, citing a person familiar with his case.

“Knock knock! Hello Free World! I used 42 different proxy to write this! Millions of Iranians don’t have internet. Can you hear us?,” he tweeted on November 19.

Mosaed is one of many journalists arrested, questioned, silenced, or threatened by Iranian authorities during the coronavirus outbreak.

Others include Fardin Mostafaei, editor of the Saghezrud news site, who called for authorities to release infection data for the city of Saghez, according to Voice of America.

The Iranian documentary filmmaker Hussein Dehbashi was also questioned by intelligence ministry officials for publicly casting doubt on the epidemic, according to Reporters Without Borders.

Iran is ranked 170th of 180 countries in RSF World Press Freedom Index.

“Corona or no corona, there is no press freedom in Iran,” Mohsen Behzad Karimi, an Iranian journalist based in the UK, told Voice of America.

Source » insider