MONTREAL – Maziar Bahari, a Canadian journalist familiar with the risks of reporting from global hot spots, has been detained in Tehran while working for Newsweek magazine.
The U.S. publication said Bahari was “detained without charge by Iranian authorities” Sunday morning in Tehran.
He has been living in Iran for the past decade and covering the country, according to Newsweek.
Online profiles of Bahari said he was born in Iran in 1967 and studied in Montreal. He has a degree in communications from Concordia University.
A colleague in Montreal said Bahari is well aware of the dangers of reporting from countries in the midst of upheavals.
In fact, Bahari directed a 2005 documentary film on the effects the killing and kidnapping of journalists was having on reporting in war-torn Iraq.
Peter Svatek, who produced the film “Reporters in Iraq” with him, described Bahari as quiet, serious and cautious.
“Maziar’s no cowboy,” Svatek told The Canadian Press on Sunday.
“He’s super aware of the dangers. It just goes to show how terribly volatile the situation is in Iran right now.”
In the documentary, Bahari interviews people like fellow Canadian journalist Scott Taylor, who was kidnapped and held for five days by insurgents in northern Iraq.
Svatek said he hopes the experience will help Bahari get through his current situation.
“He’s talked to many people in the same situation, how they dealt with it and survived,” he said. “But what he’s up against, I have no idea.”
Newsweek said Bahari’s coverage of Iran has been fair. It called on the Iranian government to release him immediately.
Bahari is one of at least 24 journalists and bloggers known to have been arrested in Iran since protests began there a week ago over the recent presidential election.
In a statement, Newsweek said that “on Sunday morning in Tehran, Newsweek’s Maziar Bahari was detained without charge by Iranian authorities and has not been heard from since.”
“Mr. Bahari is a Canadian citizen and a renowned journalist and filmmaker, who has been living in and covering Iran for the past decade.”
“Newsweek strongly condemns this unwarranted detention, and calls upon the Iranian government to release him immediately.”
The magazine said Bahari’s coverage of Iran “has always been fair and nuanced, and has given full weight to all sides of the issues.”
“He has worked well with different administrations in Tehran, including the current one.”
Newsweek said “the seizure of innocent journalists is a violation of the right to a free press in Iran.”
It asked governments of the world to “use whatever influence they have with the government in Tehran to make clear that this detention is unwarranted and unacceptable, and to demand Mr. Bahari’s release.”