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Ludicrous allegations

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Fran Unsworth Fran Unsworth | 14:28 UK time, Friday, 26 June 2009

Some in Iran have been keen to blame foreign media for fuelling the recent protests. This has led to ludicrous allegations about the BBC which have surfaced in the Iranian media.

One Iranian website reported that the BBC had paid hitmen to kill Neda Agha Soltan, the 27-year-old woman who died from a gunshot in an anti-government protest. A newspaper added the flourish that our Tehran correspondent, Jon Leyne, had personally hired the killer.

While I don't think that anyone takes this allegation seriously, the charge is nonetheless being reported in the Middle East. We state categorically that this extraordinary accusation is of course utterly without foundation.

Since then, another newspaper has reported that our Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen has been calling on Iranian people to "go on strike". This is not true either.

Fran Unsworth is the head of Newsgathering.


  • Comment number 1.

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

  • Comment number 2.

    At crisis times, such "black" rumour and misinformation is rife.
    Knowing and trusting the BBC and its indpendent news coverage for the past 60+ years, I totally support Fran Unsworth's comments. Some people may be watching (and believing?) too many movies, to use today's ghastly word for films. Democratic freedom - and free speech -is something we cherish here, despite the sometimes lurid accounts in our tabloids. It wasn't won easily and will not be easily given up.

  • Comment number 3.

    I find it slightly odd that you fel the need to post a denial. Most people aren't going to give such allegations a second thought.

    However, i heard in an artlicle that the BBCs Persin language is entirely funded by the foreign office, making it in the eyes of many a government institution. I dont know how much choice the beeb had in the matter, but if the bbc is going to work hand in glove with the government, broadcasting to a foreign country then you shouldnt be overly suprised when you get sucked into political rows.

    Or is BBC persia a completely apolitical public service altruistically provided for the people of Iran?

  • Comment number 4.

    I think its a mistake to even acknowledge these allegations,even to refute them, doing so will inevitably be held up as proof of the BBCs involvement.

    I know that makes no logical sense, but pointing the finger at the BBC when most Iranians probably have an excellant idea of exactly whats happening in their country doesn't make much sense either.

  • Comment number 5.

    I agree with poster 4, the Iranian government just makes themselves look even more foolish by spouting these claims.
    If the BBC really did control hitmen I don't think an innocent civilian would be on the list and neither do most Iranians.
    The dictators and theocrats however...well there's temptation for you!

  • Comment number 6.

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

  • Comment number 7.

    It is interesting to see that this time Iran is singling out Britain as the country fuelling the protests, and not the usual suspect, the 'Great Satan' USA. Could it be that President Obama's policy of reaching out to the Muslim countries is having an effect, so that even the Ayatollahs do not dare point a finger at him as a somebody who is engaged in anti-Muslim activoties?

    One can certainly hope so.

  • Comment number 8.

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

  • Comment number 9.

    What, pray tell, is the difference between 'Newsgathering' and good old fashioned 'journalism' ??

  • Comment number 10.

    The BBC will always be the subject of accusations of bias while it insists on letting reporters mix their opinions with facts.

    You still haven't realised the seriousness of this issue, have you?

  • Comment number 11.

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

  • Comment number 12.

    EyesInAFog-horn, you are wrong as usual. Yesterday Mahnoud Ahmadinejad said the CIA had killed Neda Agha Soltan. Perhaps it was a consipiracy between BBC and the CIA.


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