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Iran arrests 2 journalists over coronavirus cartoon

May 5, 2020 at 3:37 pm

Image of Iranian newspapers [V/Flickr]

Two journalists were arrested over a cartoon mocking “Islamic medicine” in Iran, Tehran’s prosecutor Ali Alghasi-Mehr said yesterday.

Masoud Heydari, the news director of the Iranian Labour News Agency (ILNA), and Hamid Haghjoo, the manager of its Telegram channel, were arrested on 24 April for allegedly insulting “Islam’s sacred principles” and religious leaders in a cartoon that was posted on the ILNA’s Telegram channel for a few minutes and was then quickly deleted, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) reported.

According to RSF, the cartoon showed a patient between two traditional clerics. One of them asks the patient to apply oil. The other wants him to drink camel’s urine. In addition to that, in a photo on the wall in the centre, there is a mullah (Iranian traditional cleric) dressed as a nurse who reminds the audience of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. He hushes the patient to say nothing.

Media groups including the RSF condemned the arrests.

Since mid-February, at least 18 journalists and citizen-journalists have been arrested in Iran as a result of their coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic, RSF’s Iran desk reported yesterday.

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