Ganji’s Courage in Face of Intimidation an ‘Inspiration’ to All, Says IPI
Iranian journalist and dissident Akbar Ganji was today declared a World Press Freedom Hero by the International Press Institute (IPI), in recognition of his decades of work defending freedom of speech and equal rights for all, in the face of continued harassment and imprisonment.
Often called ‘Iran’s most prominent political dissident’, Ganji spent six years in Iran’s infamous Evin prison for a 1999 series of articles which he, (along with investigative journalist Emadeddin Baghi) wrote on Iran’s notorious ‘chain murders’, in Sobh Emrouz, a daily publication.
Ganji’s articles accused several high-level political figures and clerics of having been involved in the systematic assassinations of intellectuals and dissidents, and accused then-President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani’s government of fostering ‘moral and financial corruption’. The exposés were collected in a book called “The Dungeon of Ghosts”, which quickly became a bestseller, and is credited with spurring the defeat of a number of conservative candidates in the 2000 elections. In March 2000, the editor of the paper, Saeed Hajjarian, was shot in the face by an unidentified gunman, and left paralysed for life.