International press freedom organisation, Reporters Without Borders (RWB), on Thursday strongly condemned the Iranian government for threats and intimidation against exiled journalists and their families left behind in Iran.
"The intelligence ministry and Revolutionary Guards are using the government-controlled national radio and TV broadcaster to orchestrate these harassment campaigns from Tehran," Reporters Without Borders said in a statement.
RWB directly pointed the finger at the Islamic Republic Of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) for managing a strategy of threats against exiled Iranian press professionals, even though there are attempts to mask who is at the origin of the campaign.
"Exiled journalists (are) threatened, pressured and defamed from inside Iran," RWB said, outlining cases of this harassment and "reprisals" against family members still in Iran.
"Independent news providers continue to be the target of threats and harassment by the Iranian government despite conciliatory gestures by the new president, the moderate conservative Hassan Rohani, on the international stage and the release of some political prisoners ahead of last month's UN General Assembly," RWB asserted.
"In particular, the intelligence ministry continues to put pressure on the relatives in Iran of exiled journalists. Since June, the families of several journalists working for media based abroad - such as Prague-based 'Radio Farda' (a branch of 'Radio Free Europe') and Washington-based 'Voice of America' - have been summoned and interrogated at length by intelligence ministry officials," the press freedom body added.
"What the Iranian government is doing with journalists' families who remain in Iran is tantamount to taking the families of European and US citizens hostage," Reporters Without Borders added. "These attacks at a distance on journalists outside the country need a firm reaction from the international community