BBC Resorts to United Nations to Protect its Journalists in Iran

A screenshot from a newscast on BBC Persian

A screenshot from a newscast on BBC Persian

BBC journalists will address the United Nations human rights council in Geneva this week to plead for protection from harassment by the Iranian authorities.

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) will appeal to the United Nations in an attempt to stop Tehran from harassing its Persian service staff in the United Kingdom and their families in Iran, BBC Director General Tony Hall said.

"The Iranian authorities appear to regard any affiliation with the BBC as a crime", said David Kaye, special rapporteur on freedom of expression, and Jahangir.

The BBC said it was planning a series of events in partnership with the International Federation of Journalists this week during the 37th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

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In August 2017, the broadcaster said that Iran had frozen the assets of 152 current and former employees and contributors of BBC Persian, which had been largely banned in the country since 2009, and accused them of "conspiracy against national security". In truth, this story is much wider: it is a story about fundamental human rights.

Previous year the Iranian authorities started a criminal investigation alleging that the unit was threatening its national security.

There is no news about the result of Iran's investigation, but the BBC has noted that the state's persecution campaign has continued unabated since 2009, when the BBC Persian satellite service was officially launched amid widespread protests against the results of Iran's disputed presidential election that year.

"Iranians now increasingly turn to the worldwide media to find out what is happening in their own country".

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Iran has often come under intense global criticism for its human rights violations.

Jeremy Dear, deputy general secretary of the IFJ, said the worldwide community must act now: "For many years Iranian journalists have suffered; been forced into hiding, fled into exile, been arrested, jailed and subjected to routine harassment, violence and intimidation".

On March 12, BBC Persian journalist Kasra Nouri reported "more than 30 staff have lost parents and been unable to say goodbye in the past decade".

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