Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Int'l Women's Day: Think of These Three Women

Sanjay Suri, Inter Press Service:
International Women's Day asks you to think of half the world, but two writers groups asked Tuesday for attention particularly to three women "under attack for using new information technology to challenge their governments." The London-based freedom of expression group International PEN picked on International Women's Day March 8 to launch a new campaign in support of the three women from Tunisia, Iran and China. ...

In Iran the Writers in Prison Committee says it is particularly concerned about the cases of seven on-line journalists who were arrested between September and November 2004. read more

Among them were two women, Mahboudeh Abbasgholizadeh, editor-in-chief of the women's magazine Ferzaneh, and Fershteh Ghazi, correspondent for the daily Etemad

Mahboudeh Abbasgholizadeh was arrested Nov. 1 last year on her return from the European Social Forum in London. She was reportedly charged with "acts against national security and spreading propaganda", but was later released on bail.

Fershteh Ghazi is a correspondent for the daily Etemad, and was detained as part of the general crackdown on online publications, PEN said. She was arrested on Oct. 28 by the Edarah Amaken, the morality police, and is said to have been accused of "immoral behaviour". PEN says it has on its records 28 other writers and journalists who are in prison or on trial in Iran. ...

In many countries around the world dissident communities have "seized on the Internet with enthusiasm as a method of expressing their views about their governments and launching campaigns for political reform," PEN said. "Very often, traditional print-forms of communication, such as journals, have been banned. The Internet can then promise unfettered exchanges of opinions." ...