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Families of BBC staff being harassed in Iran

Peter Horrocks Peter Horrocks | 08:00 UK time, Wednesday, 5 October 2011

The BBC has become accustomed over many years to relentless criticism from the Iranian authorities. Often the verbal claims made by the Iranian government and media are so exaggerated that we ignore them and rely on the good sense of our audiences in Iran and around the world to discount their wilder statements.

Ayatollah Khamenei listening to a speech by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

However recent direct actions against the BBC by Iran cannot be ignored.

We are seeing the levels of intimidation and bullying as well as attempts to interfere with our independence reaching new levels - particularly since a documentary about the supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei was aired.

In recent weeks the jamming by the Iranians of international Persian language TV stations, such as BBC Persian TV and the Voice of America's Persian News Network has intensified.

The jamming prevents Iranian audiences viewing a vital free service of information. In the past week alone, hundreds of Iranian viewers have sent emails and used social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter to reach out to us.

They tell us how much they value us as a source of reliable independent news, ask us to persevere and to look for other - not prone to interference - ways of broadcasting BBC Persian TV.

Iran is a member of the United Nations body the International Telecommunication Union (ITU); as such the Iranian government is a signatory to international communications treaties that are designed to allow the free exchange of information and data, for the benefit of all.

The BBC and other international broadcasters have called on governments and international regulatory bodies to put maximum pressure on Iran to desist in this flagrant censorship.

The second category of direct action by Iran is aimed not at our audience but the BBC's own staff. Many of our Iranian employees who live in London are fearful to return to their country because of the regime's attacks on the BBC. But although those journalists are beyond the direct reach of their government they are now subject to a new underhand tactic.

Iranian police and officials have been arresting, questioning and intimidating the relatives of BBC staff. We believe that the relatives and friends of around 10 BBC staff have been treated this way.

Passports have been confiscated, homes searched and threats made. The relatives have been told to tell the BBC staff to stop appearing on air, to return to Iran, or to secretly provide information on the BBC to the Iranian authorities.

Six independent documentary makers whose films have appeared on BBC Persian TV have also been arrested in Iran. Although these film-makers have never been employed or commissioned by the BBC, they are paying the price for an indirect connection to the BBC.

These actions and threats against the BBC have been accompanied by a dramatic increase in anti-BBC rhetoric. Iranian officials have claimed that BBC staff are employees of MI6, that named staff have been involved in crimes, including sexual crimes, and that BBC Persian is inciting designated terror groups to attack Iran.

Whilst these claims are clearly absurd, the intensity of language magnifies the fears of BBC staff for their family and friends back in Iran. Given the vulnerability of those family members we have thought hard about drawing attention to this harassment. But this public statement has the full support of all staff whose families have been intimidated.

Our Iranian journalists have made their own decisions to work for the BBC, which they knew might cause hostility from their own government. But their families are innocent bystanders and it is outrageous that they should also be victimised.

This issue is wider than the BBC and is behaviour that all people who believe in free and independent media should be concerned about.

The BBC calls on the Iranian government to repudiate the actions of its officials. And we request the British and other governments take all necessary means to deter the Iranian government from all these attempts to undermine free media.

Peter Horrocks is director, BBC Global News.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    But the same should apply to US or other Government's too that have tired to block or bomb Aljazeera around the world.

  • Comment number 2.

    When the television stations in Iraq were bombed, it was during a war. When Iran harasses people and institutions on a daily basis during apparent peacetime, that's a different situation entirely. Also, Al Jazeera are well aware of the dangers of broadcasting from a warzone and had ample time to leave the area, the military build up was months in the making, I'm not saying they deserved any personal damage and who would? My point is they knew the risks, whereas any journalist working in a peaceful country should the right to carry out his job without fear of threat or persecution and without censorship, something Iran can not say they provide or defend.

  • Comment number 3.

    BBC, CNN etc media house actually commendatory and conspiracy machine for US/Uk western etc Govt. every self educated ppl understand that. How does you still campaign Iraq invasion, Gaza mass killing as justifiable ? why don't you campaign for Bush war crime and hang him ??

  • Comment number 4.

    There is a lot more to the problem Aljazeera faced with America than just bombs. Because they reported from behind the lines Bush purposefully demonised Aljazzera and forced AT&T and others to release assets and hosting from the news corporation at every angle. Bush even went as far as to have them branded as terroists and Taliban reporters.

    They were victims of very much the same abuse as the BBC is now in Iran. It is disgraceful but it happens even in our part of the world.

  • Comment number 5.

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain.

  • Comment number 6.

    And Iran makes sure that independent journalists have a v. hard time to report without regime interference from its client states: Lebanon, and. more importantly - SYRIA!

    Let alone on Islamic Republic of Iran's nuclear arms program.

  • Comment number 7.

    Mojtaba Mirtahmasb, co-director of Jafar Panahi’s "This is Not A Film", is among the six filmmakers who were arrested by Iranian authorities on September 17th. An Iranian news agency, Young Journalist Club, accused detained filmmakers of working for BBC Persian & engaging in espionage on behalf of the news service. Several sources have reported all 6 have been taken to Ward 240 of Evin Prison, with all arrests coming within a day of BBC Persian’s broadcast of a documentary about Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Two days prior to the airing of the documentary, the Young Journalist Club stated a “network” of filmmakers supplying information to the BBC had been identified and that “necessary actions will be taken to deal with them.” The BBC has stressed “the 6 filmmakers currently detained in Iran are not BBC staffers.” So what? Does this mean that they could not be affiliated with BBC in any way?
    The imprisoned filmmakers are Mojtaba Mirtahmasb, Katayoun Shahabi, Hadi Afarideh, Naser Saffarian, Shahnam Bazdar and Mohsen Shahrnazdar.
    Earlier this month, Iran barred Mojtaba Mirtahmasb from accompanying This Is Not a Film, which he and Panahi shot SECRETLY on an iPhone, smuggled into France for its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, to the Toronto International Film Festival.
    Saturday’s events contribute to the overall number of arrests against filmmakers in the country, including Pegah Ahangarani, Mahnaz Mohammadi, Jafar Panahi & Mohammad Rasoulof. Why all the secrecy?
    If the film was unbiased, newsworthy, a good documentary - why all the secrecy?

  • Comment number 8.

    Beyond employee salaries, one has to wonder what information the Iranian BBC employees could provide to Iran. The BBC is a broadcaster. One would think it's not habitually in the business of witholding information (unless lives are at risk of course).

  • Comment number 9.

    As the Tehran Times noted, the Iranian Supreme Leader “condemned any measure which would lead to the recognition of the Israeli regime and would ignore the legal right of the Palestinian people to their homeland.”
    In other words, Iran continues to oppose the two-state solution. Is this the real cause of the firestorm?
    But does this mean that Iran wants to destroy Israel—“wipe it off the face of the map”—as is commonly cited? This is certainly the conventional wisdom, as seen in the statements above. But a colleague at The Washington Post, spotting the Bachmann & Obama statements during the UN festivities last month, suggests that it is this widely cited statement by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was actually a MISTRANSLATION. The firestorm started when N. Fathi, then the Tehran correspondent of The NY Times, reported a story almost 6 years ago that was headlined: “Wipe Israel ‘off the map’ Iranian says.” The article attributed newly elected Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad remarks to a report by the ISNA press agency. The original statement in Persian did not say that Israel should be wiped from the map, but instead that it would collapse. Iran has rejected Palestinian efforts at statehood because it wants one state = domination by Palestinians. At the same time, the words allegedly uttered by Ahmadinejad have been used to suggest a change toward a more militaristic posture by Iran toward Israel. In fact, Ahmadinejad is not the power broker in Iran; it is Khamenei. Khamenei, in fact, has been consistent in speaking of his hatred of Israel, but without a military context. Moreover, the fact that Ahmadinejad was merely quoting Khamenei suggests that even less weight should have been given to his words, especially since there is a dispute over the precise meaning. “Wipe off the map,” in other words, has become easy shorthand for expressing revulsion at Iran’s anti-Israeli foreign policy, which it was not.
    Why have westerners simply repeated the MISTRANSLATION without investigation.

  • Comment number 10.

    Thank you BBC for bringing this to the attention of the World.

    Iran continues to systematically violate the human rights of its citizens, particularly the minorities and the vulnerable. This includes harassment domestically and abroad of anyone who dares to question those in power.

    Unlike in Egypt, where the army exercised restraint on its people, Iran's ruthless revolutionary guard and militias continue to ensure that an uneducated elite remain in power by eliminating any form of freedom, democracy or free speech.

    It is however still the dream of many open minded Iranians, both in and out of the country, to live to see a free and fair Iran in their lifetimes.

  • Comment number 11.

    It is not satisfactory to say that journalists /film-makers/activists / ordinary men and women 'knew the risks'...the Iranian detentions are flagrant human rights violations and and serve as provocation to the rest of the world. It is a projection and an abuse of power which should be openly condemned. Censorship and polite diplomacy colludes with international human rights violations. Violence will only feed violence and unless the crackdown is challenged, it will subjugate the psychology of all Iranian and other peoples into silent submission. ... martyrdom and fanaticism feed when ordinary protocol and civil discourse is not observed. Iran does not need any more heroes/ heroines or hostages. The conservative crackdown destabilises already precarious relations internally and abroad. This situation is ongoing and completely unnecessary ..I hope that mediation is possible and all detentions are curtailed

  • Comment number 12.

    The BBC, and in particular, those Iranian journalists currently working for the Persian service, and who are now enduring this particularly nasty type of official persecution, all have their dignity and self-respect. Also, they have the support and appreciation of a world-wide audience of civilised folks. The presumed human beings at the top of the current Iranian regime, are either not aware of such attributes, or possibly lack mirrors in which to view monsters in the making. Blessings upon those who strive for the goodness, and the common humanity which flows freely from both Bible and Quoran. As my own Chosen Book, says: :By their fruits shall you know them".

  • Comment number 13.

    Member of the ITU means nothing when it comes to dicatatorial Iran

  • Comment number 14.

    One should enter Iran with eyes wide open. Oppressive regimes have that connotation for a reason. Don't act surprised or offended when this is the history of this regime. Deal with what is and you won't be surprised when it is not how you wish it to be.

  • Comment number 15.

    why I.T.U dose not do anything against Islamic Regime of Iran ? since 2009 after Disputed presidential election Iranian governments have sent the noise over many independent Satellite channels like BBC Persian T.V and even entertainment channels, despite of this illegal Islamic regime action Pro-regime media freely broadcast their programs from all satellites and unfortunately we have not seen any reaction by the international institutions against the illegal acts of Iran government.

  • Comment number 16.

    BBC and other mainstream western media coverage of Libyan war has been far from reality. clear effort has been made to fabricate and manipulate public opinion and legitimise the unjust war.

  • Comment number 17.

    The BBC has lost all credibilty over its bogus reporting on Libya. It had the Rebels taking over 90% of Libya a month ago, then later it had to apologise that it's footage was a mistake and the protesters it displayed in Green Square in Tripoli were actually waving Indian flags. The first casualty of war is the truth, and the BBC has been primary in dealing lies in this so called Humanitarian Nato mission, which is actually creating genocide. Whatever they report now is merely supported by the Western defence industry and other corporate tyrants. Everybody is beginning to grieve the death of the old BBC which was accurate and even handed. Now their news reports merely dish out propaganda. The only purpose of listening to it's news reports is to laugh at the distortions within them.

  • Comment number 18.

    Mr. Horrocks, we now see that all those years that the BBC has been timidly and respectfully "reporting" on the Iranian regime and ignoring its true nature have been in vain. You should have been broadcasting accurately and boldly all this time. Then people might sympathise with you over the regime's actions against you. And your implication that the BBC reports with integrity and seeks the truth might be believable.

    I am reminded of CNN's admission that it disgracefully hid the truth of Saddam Hussein's regime from the public for years because it feared for the safety of its journalists. This is precisely how the BBC reports on Iran.

    So I guess you must be baffled by the ungrateful regime's actions in clamping down on you. Perhaps you have not been quite submissive enough.

  • Comment number 19.

    terrible! Radio Zamaneh and Radio Farda, two other popular Persian media in Europe also have had the same problems to reach their audience in Iran.

  • Comment number 20.

    I sympathise with any journalist detained by the despicable Iranian regime. I recall the shocking case of Zahra Kazemi, the Iranian-Canadian journalist raped and tortured to death for taking photographs outside an Iranian prison:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zahra_Kazemi


    9. BluesBerry wrote:

    But a colleague at The Washington Post, spotting the Bachmann & Obama statements during the UN festivities last month, suggests that it is this widely cited statement by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was actually a MISTRANSLATION.

    This is very old propaganda. The "debate" over whether Ahmedinejad said Israel should be, "wiped from the map" or, "vanish from the pages of time" is irrelevant and inconsequential. He has called Israel, "a disgusting microbe," hosted a Holocaust denial conference and is part of a regime that arms, trains and funds terrorists for the single-minded purpose of attacks on Israeli civilians. It is well known, but evidently not by you, that Iran is the main power behind Hezbollah in its attacks on Israel.

    This makes nonsense of your statement that, "Khamenei, in fact, has been consistent in speaking of his hatred of Israel, but without a military context."

    I guess if you have been relying on the BBC for your news you wouldn't know these things.

  • Comment number 21.

    These kind of post are always inspiring and I prefer to read quality content

  • Comment number 22.

    'However recent direct actions against the BBC by Iran cannot be ignored.'

    No 'rising stars' there, one presumes?

    Kind of sucks when seeking the truth gets stomped on by those only seeking to control what is broadcast, doesn't it?

    Of course, as is often suggested hereabouts, you don't have to pay to be there. And at least there is the option of pulling out.

  • Comment number 23.

    I sympathise with any journalist detained by the despicable Iranian regime. I recall the shocking case of Zahra Kazemi, the Iranian-Canadian journalist raped and tortured to death for taking photographs outside an Iranian prison. [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 24.

    I appreciate the fear and concern that such intimidation brings to journalists and their families. However, I am perplexed that I cannot find anywhere on the BBC news website any information about the case of Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani who was sentenced to death by hanging last week in Iran. His crime - he is a Christian. This man has been a Christian for many years and has a young family. Protests were understandably raised recently when an Iranian woman was threatened with the death sentence for adultery with her case being all over the media. How are editorial decisions made in these situations. This pastor's situation should be getting broadcast throughout the world so that pressure might be brought about the Iranian government to stop killing people simply because they believe something they disagree with.

  • Comment number 25.

    Ah yes, bias reporting.
    In Scotland anyone supporting the idea of independence
    is constantly aware of the bias of the BBC

  • Comment number 26.

    I really feel for you in the difficult and vital job you perform, often placing yourselves at risk. I am grateful for all you do. You may not value this, but I pray for your safety...

    Saddened about the cuts and changes; I am sure you shall soon have a thread about this subject. Today we are all, technophiles, kind of reflecting on the legacy and significance of Steve Jobs inspiring life as a provider to so many of us of our professional tools -- and if we didn't use his brand, he still contributed to making our preferred items better, by setting the bar so high.

    My hope for those being forced out of secure jobs is that they will find a way to do splendid work entrepreneurially, because you all have such precious skills!

  • Comment number 27.

    My Chinese friend complains about the bias reporting shown by the BBC against her country. I agree. A few stories about Dinosaur bones, auctions and then kick. You dont cover the huge Geen Energy strides that they have made for example ahead of the UK and the US.

  • Comment number 28.

    '...officials have been arresting, questioning and intimidating the relatives ... homes searched and threats made.'

    Two wrongs never make a right, but remind me, what powers does Capita have, and often interpret to excess?

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1033904/TV-licence-fee-collectors-investigation-bully-boy-tactics-people-sets.html

  • Comment number 29.

    I am not quite sure what the BBC expects when it reports on totalitarian regimes, and especially when it uses 'local' staffers. In the Stalinist USSR the BBC used British staff where possible, and the same in Maoist China, so do you think you can report from a regime thats sustained by the 'Revolutionary Guards', and expect them to ignore the chance to intimidate or even torture your local staff or their relatives?

    I sometimes wonder if the 'PC' mindset that the BBC uses for the way it presents events in the UK, has now prevented it from seeing the world as it really is in 'Realpolitik' terms abroad?

    Surely someone in the BBC can actually make a risk assessment based upon the nastiness of the regime and not the health and safety risk of spilling a coffee? Shake off the blinkers and see what's really happening in these places.

  • Comment number 30.

    From my first reading of Peter Horrocks' report, I took the following:

    Outrageous "Iran" - indupitably

    Most Iranians will agree - in private

    Most in the West will agree - believing themselves 'free' to do so


    Wondering what more might be said or done, I read the first 29 responses to widen the context of further thought:

    inshala@1 observes double standards - with some justification?

    wasim@3 reflects the origin of evil exchanges - in $£-interest?

    Sammaye@4 echoes lechaise@2 - censorship 'happens' everywhere?

    Bluesberry@7, helpful as ever, to what end unclear - @9 reflecting fear of misunderstanding or manipulation towards conflict?

    continued/

  • Comment number 31.

    Alex Banks @8 thinks to cool it

    The_Sab@10 sees 'uneducated elite' against 'open-minded', ruthless violence making 'a free and fair Iran' but 'the dream' for our lifetimes

    cate@11 hints at false 'knew the risks' justification by Iran, perhaps suspect disclamation by BBC; calls for detentions to be 'openly condemned', saying 'Iran does not need any more heroes/heroines or hostages', hoping for mediation

    tonywebster@12 offers solidarity and reproach from common humanity

    sagat4@13 suggests signing UN ITU 'means nothing' to 'dictatorial'

    gostofsichuan@14 offers the consolation of better hindsight

    mehrdad parsipour @15 wonders why no reaction to many ITU violations

    bob@16 has views on Libya reports, reflecting own view of 'unjust war'

    Mike Clifford @17 hints at Libyan 'truth' hidden by 'Western… tyrants'

    continued/

  • Comment number 32.

    TrueToo@18 sees BBC in Iran like CNN in Iraq, 'disgracefully' fearful in the past, to be blamed if not now 'believable', @20 observing no comfort in regime distinctions given (unpicked) 'main power behind Hezbollah in its attacks on Israel', and (barbaric) treatment of Zahra Kazemi

    Pejman Akbarzadeh @19 reports other deprivations of audience(s) in Iran

    anorthface@21 takes inspiration

    JunkkMale@22 speaks for all 'ignored'

    hotel@23 on Zahra Kazemi: URL removed

    rhymer@25 on bias: speaks for 'anyone supporting the idea of independence', constantly aware 'in Scotland… of the bias of the BBC

    Maria Ashot @26 humbly offers prayer for safety, and hope for entrepreneurial futures

    littlerego@27 on bias: neglect of prime issues in China

    Junkkmale@28 on threats & intimidation from UK licence-fee 'collectors'

    continued/

  • Comment number 33.

    Desiderius Erasmus @29 observes need for greater caution in 'staffing'


    Suggested to me is hope in a global twin-track approach - not just for Iran:
    1. Representation with utmost feeling for those ill-treated
    2. Presentation of shared fault and sharable resolution

    Not only protesting individuals, but whole families, tribes, nations, races, religions, genders and classes, have long and terribly been the subjects of ill-treatment, the accumulation of hurts and outrages only feeding cycles of violence.

    IF there is hope for our world, not much longer likely to bear our behaviour, that hope will be from the humanity - the feeling for others than ourselves and those close - there to be awakened in each of us, given genuine out-reach.

    It must be for the Haves, those most educated as well as those most wealthy, to lead in outreach to the Have-nots, doing their best to respect the best in ancient but divisive traditions, offering as guarantee of good faith, the prospect of security in an utterly new genuine democracy.

    Fully to understand the rule of Mammon is beyond any one of us, but all of us can know the place of Fear in our lives, not just the ordinary fears 'of God' or 'for our good reputation' but the Fear for ourselves, and for our families etc., of unfair ruin, starvation, illness, loss of life.

    From such Fear we can understand, even if never much tested ourselves, the matching power of Greed, and with understanding can come forgiveness and strength to overcome.

    When will 'we' be 'rich enough' to share peaceful Equality?

  • Comment number 34.

    You've only got to watch Iranian TV and its support for the Houthis in Yemen to realise that the BBC needs to get out of this rogue state, which has the objective of spreading violence among its neighbours. The Houthis don't want a two state solution: they want the Palestinians to take over the whole of Israel by force and at the same time wipe out the Wahabi Sunnis in Saudi. Both aims are supported by Iran TV. The ace in the hole for Iran will be the catastrophic failure of the Bushehr nuclear reactor, which will turn most of the Middle East into a radioactive desert. A suicide bomb to top all suicide bombs.

  • Comment number 35.

    Quite honestly the BBC deserves all it gets from the dictators of Iran. You have bent over backwards for years to present them in the best light possible so they see the BBC (and most other MSM) as easy targets. One day you will realise that those dark things flying overhead are not Israeli warplanes, instead they are your own chickens coming home to roost.

  • Comment number 36.

    In the BBC there's a lot of talk about impartial broadcasting. I've always wondered how that would work if you were the BBC correspondent in Nazi Germany reporting on Hitler.

    That was written in December 2006 by ex-BBC journalist Frances Harrison as an introduction to her thoughts on Ahmedinejad hosting a Holocaust denial conference. She continued:

    Would you not have to take sides? Well I got closer than ever before to this problem reporting on Iran's Holocaust conference.

    This goes to the heart of the matter. The evil Iranian regime currently poses the greatest threat to humanity since Hitler. Should the BBC be minimising or ignoring the evidence that proves Iran's evil in the interests of "impartial" journalism? No, it shouldn't.

    Frances Harrison chose not to ignore it. In a startling deviation from the typically bland BBC script, she lashed out at Iran and Ahmedinejad for playing host to the world's chief Holocaust deniers and for repressing and jailing journalists:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/from_our_own_correspondent/6183061.stm

    And when she left her post in Teheran in 2007, she was less than complimentary about the regime she had come to know so well:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/from_our_own_correspondent/6277172.stm

    I can understand the dictatorial regime disliking Harrison's reporting but it really baffles me why it should clamp down on the BBC now, since it has done nothing since Harrison but produce timid, obedient and submissive reporting on the regime.

    Mr. Horrocks, in your indignation at the harrassment from the regime you portray BBC journalists reporting on Iran as bold, intrepid and unswerving seekers after truth. If this is really the case, why are you utterly silent about the fate of pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, originally sentenced to death for apostacy but now accused of rape, extortion and being a Zionist as the despicable Iranian regime responds to wordwide outrage by the devious tactic of suddenly pretending that Nadarkhani is a common criminal and a spy for Israel and therefore deserves the death penalty on those grounds, not for converting to Christianity:

    http://archbishop-cranmer.blogspot.com/2011/10/pastor-youcef-nadarkhani-now-accused-of.html

    The case has been reported by many news organisations, including the Telegraph, VOA, CNN, Fox News and Huffington Post:

    http://news.kodoom.com/en/iran-politics/lawyer-hopes-iran-christian-pastor/topic/1307147/

    Why is the BBC silent on this urgent matter if not to please the regime?

  • Comment number 37.

    Unfortunately you're only telling us what we've known since 1979 - that the
    mullah regime in Iran are just a bunch of cheap thugs.

  • Comment number 38.

    isn't the BBC banned from Iran?

  • Comment number 39.

    BBC never dare to touch western political elites. Just as I dont support Iranian regime, I dont support the political elites those bank-roll BBC either. Simply because we differ from political leaders in our countries, BBC asks as to give cheque-de-blanque support to the motives of its political elites. BBC thinks we are fool so that we support strengthening Britain and its mafia in its grip over our countries. BBC thinks we love Britain and its mafia more than our nations. BBC thinks interests of our countries should in the best interest of their lords - so we should open up our resources to keep Britain and their mafia flourshing. Those who work at BBC cannot lead luxury lifestyle if they offend their political leaders. Although BBC takes extra efforts to highlight wrongs of leaderships in our countries, it never highlight as such - it didn't dare to call David Camaroon a lier when he claimed Gaddafi left for Venezuela, but wouldn't flinch a second to call leadership from elsewhere as such. We don't forget how BBC went along with the course of midslinging against Robert Mugabe, Hugo Chavez etc.. This is just a mouth piece which receives large swath of fund from riches who steal from poor countries and their own citizens and could afford to employ large swath of people in third world countries. I dare BBC to publish this comment if at all those at BBC has any drop of self-respect.

  • Comment number 40.

    BBC answer me without lying - Who killed David Kelly? You know and your political masters know. You never called it a suspected murder and you didn't waste time in closing off David Kelly's death as a suicide. Where it been an Iranian you would write columns after columns to advocate this as a political murder.

    We know who you are.

  • Comment number 41.

    powermeerkat - client states? as if your country don't have client states? Emperor is naked man!!!

  • Comment number 42.

    Mike Clifford - Not just Libya. I see it every news I read from BBC. It is so clever in mixing lies with the facts - even sometimes photographs from elsewhere are mixed. I can show examples. Don't you know what BBC is upto?

  • Comment number 43.

    I wish UK allows Iranian TV to function from its soil. Why should Iran allow BBC if UK don't allow their broadcasters? Don't those Oxford educated BBC riches know they don't apply same standards everywhere?

    Hello.. Issues in our nations will be addressed only by our wills and our needs. Not at the wimp of British.

  • Comment number 44.

    Wow, I had no idea..... do they hate democracy that much?

  • Comment number 45.

    @33 I suggested 'a twin-track approach' would allow hope for humanity.

    bertsprockett@34 highlights divisions; Henry Wood @35 hints at uneven expression
    of BBC disquiet; TrueToo @36 gives another example of abuse by 'the despicable Iranian regime'; nemo102010 @37 refers to 'the mullah regime in Iran (as) just a bunch of cheap thugs'; No_Main_Party_Vote @38 might re-read the article; Rizwan @39-43 highlights the need for examination of self as well as of others, implicitly the need for all of freedom so to examine.

    Passions are reflected: against 'enemies' faced, and encouragingly of our real enemy, shared, for each new generation the ignorance of possibility, making it 'normal' to find ourselves 'exploiting' and / or 'keeping quiet'.

    Even if ourselves caught-up in life-and-death struggle, in understandable rage, in noble defence, perhaps duly under orders, we can realise that our 'enemies' are - in the main - similarly 'caught-up'.

    Within any regime that guards elite privilege, and suppresses the ordinary citizen - whether overtly as 'just a bunch of cheap thugs', or subtly as 'a network of wealthy quasi-legitimates' - there will be many, perhaps most, trapped in webs of fear.

    Even in self-sanctified pseudo-democracies, and time-sanctioned 'mullah regimes'; and even where the worst horrors have been inflicted on loved-ones, countrymen, co-religionists, in fact on any other fellow humans; still we have the capacity to know the humanity of those trapped in 'opposed' communities.

    continued/

  • Comment number 46.

    This is not to say that there cannot be 'psychopaths in uniform', and 'sociopaths in office'. Psychopaths (1%) and sociopaths (3%) are likely to be over-represented in positions of power, but still we should guard against mass condemnations, and mass exclusions (perhaps 'de-Bathification' was an example of relevance here - no doubt for debate).

    We of course always have to help and / or contain those lacking in ready empathy, as we have to help and / or contain those with emotions out of order, all being helped by a social context explicitly and truly 'for all'.

    I should perhaps have commended 'a multi-track approach', stressing in addition to multiple "representation with utmost feeling for those ill-treated", a new lead in
    the "presentation of shared fault and sharable resolution".

    Given that 'more than 400-characters' are available, it is here possible for all who post to help build confidence for the future, taking the trouble to express our wide concerns, not only for victims in our own communities, but also for victims in 'opposed' and all other communities.

    LoveYAHWEH @44 raises vital questions: what 'we' and 'they' actually understand by 'democracy'; what might be meant by the 'Love of God and Man'; how might we enable each other to be 'free' (from fear) under 'the law' (representative-made).

    Given credible outreach between cultures, the ill-treated individual might be reached by unexpected help from within our universally imperfect systems.

  • Comment number 47.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 48.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 49.

    I've no idea what harrassment of BBC staff in Iran is going on but watching the 10pm BBC News it's pretty clear that any sense of objective journalism on Iran has long ago 'left the room'. The 10pm News on the 11th Oct bought hook, line and sinker the neo-con line of the Saudi Ambassador's plot with almost no consideration of the geo-political efforts by the US to deliberately ramp up confrontation with Iran. I know that it has long been the aim of some at the BBC to consign the motto of the BBC to the bottom draw. However in an age of media coverage via the press of a mouse button somebody needs to be aware that bias has its penalty in the job security of those that sit idly by when truth comes knocking on the door.

  • Comment number 50.

    This is puzzling, don't the Iranians appreciate the support given to their regime from the BBC?

  • Comment number 51.

    ProfPhoenix, theBBC is not quite submissive enough in its reporting on Iran

  • Comment number 52.

    Iranians may appreciate the support of the BBC, but their government sure doesn't. They are one of the big three (with China and N. Korea) that absolutely can't stand anything being said unless it comes out of their mouth prepared for consumption. One of the best ways to keep people from rebelling is to convince them the regime is all for good. The media is the best way to brain wash in a country where education isn't what it is in Europe.

  • Comment number 53.

    My only complaint is with the reference to the word "Verbal" when refering to criticism by the Iranians. Surely the word is either "Oral" or "Written".
    Just as I read today an article about the Rioters and there lack of education so I see the constant use of "Compared to" instead of "Compared with". This misuse of the english language is not uncommon. Just listen to Carol the weather lady on breakfast TV and each time she "compares to". And she is not alone.
    I don't criticise everyone only those who use words for their living but fail to uphold the main rules. We must remember to Compare with and Differ from.

  • Comment number 54.

    A broadcasting organization that has international respect for unbiased journalism should have no problems and be courted by regimes that are seen in an upopular light. Sadly, despite its support for Islamic movements, the BBC is seen in the international community as a biased news organization. Countries like Iran may well appreciate the BBC's anti Israel position, its selective reporting - all well documentented - but such activiy must be seen by Iranians and others that the BBC is far from objective. Basically, I am saying, that you have lost it BBC, you are no longer respected, certainly not in the ME.

  • Comment number 55.

    To ProfPhoenix #54
    When it comes to reporting the Middle East, which broadcasting organization does the international community respect the most?

  • Comment number 56.

    To 55 Marko,

    How should I know, and why should I care. But the international community (which is not homogenous) can easily draw conclusions from BBC reports which go out of their way to pose Israel, for example, in a bad light against the Iranian government. Soft on Islamic extremism in Iran the BBC plays down news of executions and international appeals for clemency in response to hangings and stonings. Do I make myslelf clear? Even the Iranians must question the BBC's objectivity.

  • Comment number 57.

    To ProfPhoenix #56

    In contrast in post #54 you seemed to confidently present the opinions of the international community and happy to speculate about potential views of Iranians and others. In that post you appear concerned about quality of reporting and then in your latest you say you don't care.

    Maybe the only constructive way forward is to point out Iranian atrocities whenever you think they have been ignored or down played or more objectively, supply generic definitions of unlawful behaviour that can be consulted when deciding whether something needs to be publicised or not, from whatever source.

  • Comment number 58.

    Isn't it wonderful...?

    The fact that Iran has nuclear technology which could conceivably ... (only if Iran is interested in suicide, which it is not) ... be used for military purposes is actually supposed to be a justification for you-know-who to bomb the country to smithereens ...

    ... yet I doubt any country, civilized or uncivilized, is seriously considering bombing you-know-who to smithereens for exactly the same reason ...

    The hypocrisy isn't even adult. It's first grade kindergarten nonsense.

  • Comment number 59.

    I'm unclear what actually happened in this story:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-15621133

  • Comment number 60.

    "The BBC and other international broadcasters have called on governments and international regulatory bodies to put maximum pressure on Iran to desist in this flagrant censorship."

    This is typical of the mind boggling hypocrisy shown by the BBC with regards to censorship/ bias/ and their own programme of half truths and ommisions which is rolled out across the world in line with current British government policy. Libya being the latest disgusting example, where countless aspects of the NATO support mission were left untouched by BBC reports, although they were bound to have full knowledge of what was/is really going on.
    For News of many issues, we have to cast our Net wide, for the truth about what is occurring in Scotland.
    This is also true in many parts of the world where British self interest supercedes truth and justice and fair reporting

 

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