Posted in Announcements

News leaders to Kerry: Free Jason Rezaian

, by Paul Colford

Kathleen Carroll, senior vice president and executive editor of The Associated Press, has joined with other heads of news organizations in signing a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry calling on him to press his efforts to win the release of Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian, jailed in Iran.

“Iran has never offered any evidence that even makes a pretense of justifying this imprisonment,” says the letter, released today.

FILE - In this photo April 11, 2013 file photo, Jason Rezaian, an Iranian-American correspondent for the Washington Post, smiles as he attends a presidential campaign of President Hassan Rouhani in Tehran, Iran. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File)

Rezaian, 39, was born in California and holds both U.S. and Iranian citizenships. He was convicted in closed proceedings early in 2015 after being charged with espionage and related allegations. The length of his sentence has not been disclosed publicly.

The letter reads as follows:

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. Sincerely, 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 & 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