The UN escalates the BBC’s complaint about Iran’s harassment of Persian journalists

The United Nations has escalated the BBC’s complaint about Iran.

In March, the British broadcaster filed an “urgent” UN complaint over the country’s harassment of female journalists in its Persian service.

“We deeply regret the violent, misogynist and gender-based harassment that our women journalists are subjected to every day,” said Liliane Landor, senior controller of BBC International News and director of World Service, at the time. “Trustworthy and impartial journalism is fundamental to any democracy and only by working together can we keep journalists safe everywhere and ensure women’s voices are included. We must be able to operate freely, without threats and without abuse.”

Now the UN has responded by raising its concerns directly with Iran. According to an update from the BBC, in May the international organization formally asked Iran to respond to the BBC’s complaint and provide a statement. It also expressed “deeply concerned at the continuation of the reported harassment and intimidation of BBC News Persian staff and their family members, which appears to be aimed at preventing them from continuing their journalistic activities at BBC News Persian”.

In its response, Iran claimed that BBC Persia was “launched with the aim of transforming and gently overthrowing the Islamic Republic of Iran” and suggested that those who had been prosecuted or punished by law were guilty of “interfering”. would have done[ing] public order and national security.”

Landor replied in a statement: “We are grateful to the United Nations for raising our serious concerns about the treatment of our Persian journalists from BBC News. We reject Iran’s attempt to justify its behavior – the sanctions and harassment of our colleagues and their families must stop.”

Relations between Britain and Iran remain difficult. In March, Iran released Iranian-British dual citizen Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who had been illegally detained in the country for six years, on false charges of plotting to overthrow the Iranian government. The UN escalates the BBC’s complaint about Iran’s harassment of Persian journalists

Charles Jones

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