Jila Baniyaghoob

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Jila Baniyaghoob
Born (1970-08-21) August 21, 1970 (age 43)
Nationality Iranian
Alma mater Allameh Tabatabai University
Occupation journalist
Organization Sarmayeh
Kanoon Zanan Irani
Spouse(s) Bahman Ahmadi Amouee
Awards Courage In Journalism Award (2009)
RSF Freedom of Speech Award (2010)

Jila Baniyaghoob (or Zhīlā Banī Yaʻqūb, Persian: ژيلا بنى يعقوب ; born 21 August 1970[1]) is an Iranian journalist and women's rights activist. She is the editor-in-chief of the website Kanoon Zanan Irani ("Focus on Iranian Women").[2] Baniyaghoob is married to fellow journalist Bahman Ahmadi Amou'i, an editor at Sarmayeh, a business newspaper.[3]

Journalism[edit]

While still a student at Allameh Tabatabai University, Baniyaghoob began working in journalism for the daily newspaper Hamshahri. She focused on women's issues from the beginning of her career, though this often meant being fired from various jobs.[1] She covered countries including Afghanistan, Lebanon, and Syria, and worked at a series of pro-reform newspapers, most of which were later banned by the Iranian government.[1][4] While working at the pro-reform daily Sarmayeh, she wrote a section reporting on women's economic issues. The section was cancelled in 2008 by the newspaper's more conservative management.[1]

She was first imprisoned by Iranian authorities in June 2006 while reporting on an assault by security forces on a women's rights rally.[1] Authorities charged her with "acting against national security" and "participating in an illegal demonstration", but she was acquitted in January 2007.[5]

On 8 March 2007, she was again arrested during a rally for International Women's Day, held near Iran's parliament building.[6] She was then taken Evin Prison and interrogated blindfolded in the "notorious" Section 209, the detention center of the Iranian secret police. She was held there for one week,[7] and later wrote a book about the experience.[8]

In 2008, she was imprisoned a third time for covering a women's rally, on charges of "disruption of public order, failure to obey police orders and propagandizing against the Islamic regime".[1]

2009 arrest[edit]

Beginning in June 2009, Iran saw widespread protests following a disputed election in which President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was re-elected amid allegations of voter fraud. On the night of 20 June, both Baniyaghoob and her husband were arrested at their home by plainclothes police officers, as part of a general crackdown on journalists.[9] Amou'i was jailed that year on charges of "gathering and colluding with intent to harm national security", "spreading propaganda against the system", "disrupting public security" and "insulting the president".[3] In 2010, Baniyaghoob was tried and convicted for "spreading propaganda against the system" and "insulting the president". The court banned her from practicing journalism for thirty years and sentenced her to a year in prison.[3]

On 2 September 2012, she was summoned to Evin Prison to begin the sentence.[3][10] Amnesty International designated her a prisoner of conscience, "held solely for peacefully exercising her rights to freedom of expression", and called for her to be released and allowed to resume her profession.[3]

Awards[edit]

In 2009, the International Women's Media Foundation awarded Baniyaghoob its Courage In Journalism prize, stating that she had "fearlessly reported on government and social oppression, particularly as they affect women".[11] The following year, she won the Freedom of Speech Award of Reporters Without Borders.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f "Jila Baniyaghoob, Iran". International Women's Media Foundation. Archived from the original on 4 September 2012. Retrieved 4 September 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "Iranian Journalist Charged Over 'Unauthorized Blog'". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. 4 September 2012. Archived from the original on 4 September 2012. Retrieved 4 September 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "Iran must release prisoner of conscience Zhila Bani-Yaghoub". Amnesty International. 3 September 2012. Archived from the original on 4 September 2012. Retrieved 4 September 2012. 
  4. ^ "Leading Iran journalist gets 30-year writing ban". Google News. Agence France-Presse. 8 June 2012. Archived from the original on 4 September 2012. Retrieved 4 September 2012. 
  5. ^ "Conservative daily banned; journalist freed on bail; another acquitted". International Freedom of Expression Exchange. 8 February 2007. Archived from the original on 4 September 2012. Retrieved 4 September 2012. 
  6. ^ "Iran's Dissenters; The regime marks International Women's Day by cracking heads". The Washington Post.  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required). 11 March 2007. Retrieved 4 September 2012. 
  7. ^ Lucie Morillon (16 September 2008). "Activists Face Obstacles Online in Winning Women's Rights in Iran". MediaShift. PBS. Archived from the original on 4 September 2012. Retrieved 4 September 2012. 
  8. ^ Howard Kurtz (28 February 2011). "Women in Harm's Way". Newsweek.  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required). Retrieved 4 September 2012. 
  9. ^ Angela Charlton (21 June 2009). "At least 24 reporters arrested in Iran". Associated Press  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required). Retrieved 4 September 2012. 
  10. ^ "Amnesty calls on Iran to free journalist". The Daily Star. 4 September 2012. Archived from the original on 4 September 2012. Retrieved 4 September 2012. 
  11. ^ "Belarus, Cameroon, Iran, Israel journalists cited". Associated Press  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required). 18 May 2009. Retrieved 4 September 2012. 

External links[edit]