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Iran: Environmental Blogger Sued by Authorities

Houman Khakpour, an environmental blogger in Iran has been sued by the state run Bureau for Environmental Protection in the Chahrmahal Bakhtyari province, for warning about the the dangers of a gas pipeline project for the region's environment.

Khakpour explained in his blog, Dideh ban Tabiate Bakhtyari (Bakhtyari nature watcher) that he stands accused of “disturbing public opinion” and “spreading false news.” On Saturday May 28, 2011, he wrote [fa]:

After I wrote a post about the construction of a road in order to pass a gas pipeline through the protected natural area of ‘Tang-e- Sayad’, The Bureau of Environmental Protection in Chahrmahale Bakhtyari sued me and I must go to trial before a judge in Shahre Kurd city. My post on this topic was republished by several websites.

Iranian environmental blogger Houman Khakpou.

Iranian environmental blogger Houman Khakpou.

In the controversial post from about a month ago, Houman Khakpour argued [fa] that the Bureau for Environmental Protection had not offered any resistance to allowing a gas pipeline and a 10 kilometer road pass right through a protected natural area.

Mojgan Jamshidi, a leading environmental journalist and blogger, was surprised by the news and says she has not experienced such action in the last 40 years. She writes [fa]:

It is unbelievable that the head of Bureau for Environmental Protection who claims to have 11 years of experience with the media, complains about a blogger and accuses him of disturbing public opinion and publishing false news. It is amazing that the authorities are very tolerant towards the ones who destroy nature, while they sue the nature lover and environmental activist.

Animal Persian says [fa] Houman analyses environmental issues with a critical eye in his blog. He has 19 years of experience in this field. The blogger says that it seems that the authorities now not only filter (censor) environmental blogs, but also target the bloggers themselves.

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