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Bloggers unite to help jailed Iranians

Campaigners have called on the world's bloggers to help push for the release of two Iranians jailed after expressing opinions online
Written by Ingrid Marson, Contributor
The Committee to Protect Bloggers, a campaigning organisation, has called on bloggers to take action on Tuesday to help two Iranians who were apparently jailed by the Iranian government after expressing opinions on their blogs.

Blogger Arash Sigarchi was arrested in January, according to Reporters without Borders (RSF). He spoke out against recent arrests of cyberjournalists and bloggers in his blog, Panhjareh Eltehab (the window of anguish). Fellow Iranian blogger Mojtaba Saminejad was arrested in November after criticising the arrest of his three colleagues in his blog, according to RSF.

The committee is asking bloggers to write about Sigarchi or Saminejad's situation and the danger facing bloggers in some countries, or to leave their blog blank and simply write, "Free Mojtaba and Arash!".

The action of bloggers has reportedly helped another Iranian blogger in the past. Last year Iranian blogger Sina Motallebi, who was jailed by the government, said the publicity from bloggers and an online petition played a role in his release, according to Online Journalism Review (OJR).

"The community of bloggers came together and helped me, and spread the news around the Web, and became united," Motallebi told OJR. "There was a petition with more than 4,000 signatures on one site. And there was coverage of the story in the foreign media. And there was pressure from other countries that were concerned with human rights. I think they [the Iranian government] found the cost of arresting me more than they thought before."

The Committee to Protect Bloggers has more information on what can be done to campaign for Sigarchi and Saminejad's release.

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