While President Hassan Rouhani has paved the way towards greater transparency in Iran with a new access to information law, his other election promises including greater internet freedoms remain undelivered. Since his re-election in 2017, President Rouhani’s appointment of hardliners to cabinet positions have provoked grave concerns for freedom of expression, particularly freedoms online. With continued restrictions on journalists, human rights defenders and other groups that exercise free speech, Iran evidences a glaring disregard for international human rights standards. Civil society is severely oppressed, with most groups having to operate outside of the country, and those in Iran are forced to work underground. Despite this, Iran’s new freedom of information law, passed in 2009, could be a powerful tool for journalists and human rights defenders to achieve better access to information but it has a long way to go before it is implemented effectively.
ARTICLE 19’s work on Iran focuses on monitoring laws, policies and regulations which affect freedom of expression and information online and offline. We monitor Iran’s complex internet policies and respond to evolving threats online. We work with a wide network of experts and human rights defenders on how to effectively use Iran’s freedom of information law and to highlight violations on freedom of expression and access to information.