BBC makes human rights appeal to UN to protect Iranian staff

Sunday 17 March, 2019


The BBC is making its first ever appeal in the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva protect its journalists and their families following years of prosecution and harassment by the Iranian authorities.

The BBC consulted lawyers Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC and Jennifer Robinson last year after almost a decade of persecution of 152 BBC Persian staff, the Iranian authorities accused them of crimes against national security for their reporting and froze their assets.

In addition, they have faced arbitrary arrest and detention of family members in Iran, the confiscation of passports and travel bans preventing people leaving Iran, ongoing surveillance of journalists and their families, and the spread of fake and defamatory news targeting individuals especially women journalists.

Along with the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) and Doughty Street Chambers, the BBC has organised a series of events during the 37th session of the HRC in Geneva about BBC Persian.

The event will raise awareness about the persecution of BBC Persian Service journalists in London and their families in Iran.

BBC Director General, Tony Hall, said: “The BBC is taking the unprecedented step of appealing to the United Nations because our own attempts to persuade the Iranian authorities to end their harassment have been completely ignored. In fact, during the past nine years, the collective punishment of BBC Persian Service journalists and their families has worsened. This is not just about the BBC – we are not the only media organisation to have been harassed or forced to compromise when dealing with Iran. In truth, this story is much wider: it is a story about fundamental human rights. We are now asking the community of nations at the UN to support the BBC and uphold the right to freedom of expression.”

Country Iran
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