Monday, October 10, 2011

Iran attempts to intimidate BBC

Iran has been intermittently involved in a campaign of censorship against the BBC for a number of years, including the more recent blocking of the BBC Persia service since the disputed presidential election in 2009. However, following the airing of a BBC documentary about Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, Iran has intensified its campaign. Iranian authorities have not only been involved in the jamming of Persian language television stations in an attempt to prevent the Iranian audience from accessing this source of information, but are now being accused of threatening and intimidating BBC staff and their family and friends. This behaviour has brought strong criticism from the BBC’s head of global news, Peter Horrocks, who reports that passports have been confiscated, homes raided, and relatives told to either tell their family members to stop appearing on air or to secretly provide the Iranian authorities with information on the BBC. Horrocks has requested that the British government take action to deter Iran from using these tactics of intimidation and undermining free media.

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