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Foreign Secretary must denounce Iranian targeting of BBC journalists


14 November 2017

The general secretary of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ), Michelle Stanistreet, has today written to the British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson to request he raises the plight of BBC journalists when engaging in talks or visiting his counterparts in Iran. 

Earlier this year the Iranian authorities filed criminal charges against almost all of the journalists working for the BBC’s Persian Service in London. 

NUJ members have been charged with conspiracy against Iran’s national security and this follows a ban on 152 named individuals buying or selling property inside Iran. 

Since the BBC’s Persian Service TV started broadcasting into Iran in 2009, Iranian staff have been subjected to an onslaught of harassment and persecution by the authorities. 

The NUJ is calling on the British government to take immediate action to ensure this unprecedented attack on British-based media workers is stopped.

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said:

"The Foreign Secretary should be working with the NUJ to bring a stop to the targeting of BBC journalists. For the past eight years, BBC Persian journalists have not been able to travel to Iran safely, and their friends and families in Iran have been subjected to harassment, intimidation, interrogation and travel bans. The British government must do all it can to support BBC journalists and to defend press freedom at home and abroad."

The United Nations special rapporteur on freedom of expression, David Kaye, and Asma Jahangir, the special rapporteur on the human rights situation in Iran, said in a joint statement:

"We are concerned at recent reports that the action has now escalated to direct targeting of family members of BBC Persian staff. The measures are clearly aimed at targeting the BBC and at preventing journalists from continuing their legitimate work with BBC Persian."

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Tags: , iran, bbc persian service, journalist safety, journalists in the uk, journalists intimidated, journalists' rights, broadcasting, press freedom, bbc, solidarity, government uk