7. Iran
Leadership: Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has been supreme leader since 1989. Hassan Rouhani has been president since August 2013.

How censorship works: The government uses mass and arbitrary detention as a means of silencing dissent and forcing journalists into exile. Iran became the world’s leading jailer of journalists in 2009 and has ranked among the world’s worst jailers of the press every year since. Iranian authorities maintain one of the toughest Internet censorship regimes in the world, blocking millions of websites, including news and social networking sites. They are suspected of using sophisticated techniques, such as setting up fake versions of popular websites and search engines, and the regime frequently jams satellite signals. The situation for the press has not improved under Rouhani despite the hopes of U.N. member states and human rights groups. Rouhani also failed to uphold his campaign promise to reinstate the 4,000-member Association of Iranian Journalists, which was forced to close in 2009.

Lowlight: Iranian authorities control coverage of certain topics by tightening the small circle of journalists and news outlets allowed to report on them. In February, Iran’s Supreme National Security Council filed a lawsuit against conservative journalist Hossein Ghadyani and the newspaper he works for, Vatan-e Emrooz. The newspaper, which supports former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, had published four articles that criticized Iran’s international nuclear negotiations and alleged corruption in the government’s dealing with an oil company.imageimage