“Journalism Is Not a Crime”

January 8, 2016

A Nov. 6, 2013, photo shows Jason Rezaian, a Washington Post reporter, at the newspaper in Washington. Three Americans, including Rezaian, appear to have been detained in Iran, the newspaper said Thursday, July 24, 2014. The other two Americans, who have not yet been identified, work as freelance photojournalists. "We have received credible reports that Jason Rezaian of The Washington Post and his wife Yeganeh Salehi were detained on Tuesday evening in Tehran," the Post's foreign editor, Douglas Jehl, said in a statement. (AP Photo/The Washington Post, Zoeann Murphy)

FRONTLINE is among the news organizations which have signed the letter below. It was sent to Secretary of State John Kerry this evening.

Dear Secretary Kerry:

Journalism is not a crime. Yet Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian has been imprisoned by Iran since July 2014 for doing his job. Iran has never offered any evidence that even makes a pretense of justifying this imprisonment. We know you agree that Iran should release Jason and on behalf of our organizations and journalists around the world, we are writing to urge you to maintain your efforts to forge a path to that release.

Americans are fortunate to live in a nation that respects the role of reporters and the tenets of journalism. As journalists, we understand how central an informed citizenry is to a well functioning democracy. The need for information does not stop at the water’s edge. Many of our organizations employ journalists who, like Jason, operate in countries, like Iran, that do not always hold a high regard for the free flow of information. We understand the risks involved, and accept them in fulfilling our commitment to provide Americans and audiences worldwide with the information they need to make informed decisions.

At the same time, we depend on The United States and other democratic countries to stand behind the values that Jason represents. Independent journalism is recognized as a fundamental human right. Iran should recognize this, too, and free Jason. The United States has considerable leverage with Iran right now to press that point, and we urge you to continue to do so.


Stephen J. Adler
President and Editor-in-Chief

Raney Aronson-Rath
Executive Producer

Dean Baquet
Executive Editor
The New York Times

Bruce D. Brown
Executive Director
Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

Kathleen Carroll
Senior Vice President and Executive Editor
The Associated Press

Steve Coll
Dean, Graduate School of Journalism
Columbia University

Stephen Engelberg

Jeffrey Fager
Executive Producer
60 Minutes

Pamela B. Fine
American Society of News Editors

Susan Glasser

James Goldston
ABC News

Anders Gyllenhaal
Vice President, News and Washington Editor

Sara Just
Senior Vice President, WETA & Executive Producer
PBS NewsHour

Andrew Lack
NBC News and MSNBC

Davan Maharaj
The Los Angeles Times

John Micklethwait
Bloomberg L.P.

Jason Mojica

Michael Oreskes
Senior Vice President of News and Editorial Director

David Remnick
The New Yorker

David Rhodes
CBS News

Robert J. Rosenthal
Executive Director
The Center for Investigative Reporting

Ben Smith

Marty M. Steffens
North America Chair
International Press Institute

Mike Wilson
Dallas Morning News

Jeff Zucker
CNN Worldwide

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