'Cruel and inhumane' treatment must stop, insists NUJ
25 November 2019
Journalists working for UK-based broadcasters Iran International and the BBC Persian Service have been subjected to new threats by the Iranian authorities. Journalists’ family members living in Iran have also been threatened and harassed as a result of their family connection to reporters based in the UK.
Family members in Iran have been told to pass on threatening messages to journalists working in London – to tell them they must resign from their jobs or face the risk of being forcefully removed from the UK and returned to Iran. Relatives in Iran have been brought in for questioning by the authorities and had passports confiscated as a result of their family connection to a journalist.
These alarming developments come at the same time as an increase in civil unrest in Iran and it appears the Iranian authorities are trying to blame journalists and the foreign-based Persian-language media.
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has been approach with similar cases of harassment targeting journalists based in Germany, France and the Czech Republic.
Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said:
"Once again NUJ members working in the UK are being hounded and harassed by the Iranian state. Once again, officials are using outrageous tactics to intimidate and threaten journalists across a range of media outlets in the UK and internationally, including the targeting of our members at Iran International and the BBC Persian Service. Once again, we are seeing close relatives and family friends in Iran being cynically weaponised by the Iranian government to intimidate legitimate journalists into giving up their jobs, and to return to Iran – or face being snatched off the streets in London.
"This campaign of harassment has to stop. This cruel and inhumane tormenting of families has to cease. The Iranian government must recognise that this harassment of individuals and their families are clearly understood by the international community for what they are – an attack on journalism and on press freedom, one that the NUJ and everyone who cares about media freedom will not allow to be successful."