Belgium summons Iran envoy over media restrictions

17th June 2009, Comments 0 comments

Belgium's foreign minister summoned Iran's ambassador Tuesday over restrictions on media covering post-election protests and condemned the "brutal" treatment of demonstrators, a statement said.

Karel de Gucht expressed "his concern on the subject of hampering press freedoms, with Belgian journalists among the victims," the foreign ministry statement said.

"It seems that for the time being in Tehran, it is becoming nearly impossible for journalists to carry out their jobs properly," the statement said.

On Saturday, a team from Belgium's RTBF-TV in Iran had their footage confiscated, while on Sunday two journalists from RTBF radio and VRT radio were detained.

They were later released, but one had material confiscated the following day, the statement said.

On Tuesday, Iranian authorities banned foreign media from covering "unauthorised" rallies, a day after its disputed presidential election sparked deadly clashes.

State radio said seven people were killed on Monday and more wounded in street battles.

De Gucht "regrets the disproportionate violence exercised by the Iranian authorities against demonstrators protesting against the election results," the statement said.

"The banning of opposition demonstrations and the brutal treatment of protesters are equally worrying developments," it said.


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