World Press Freedom Day and BBC Persian

We continue to fight for the right to report freely and without intimidation because journalism should not be criminalised.Tony Hall
Date: 03.05.2019     Last updated: 03.05.2019 at 06.59
"World Press Freedom Day is a significant date in the calendar for all of us who value free speech and a free media.

"At the BBC we are all too familiar with the many obstacles and threats our services face from those who seek to restrict media freedom. So we continue to fight for the right to report freely and without intimidation because journalism should not be criminalised.

"This right has not been granted to our friends and colleagues in BBC Persian who are celebrating the 10th anniversary of their television channel. BBC Persian TV is hugely popular among millions of people of Iran but is also seen as a threat to the Iranian authorities. Over the last decade they have conducted a relentless campaign of harassment, intimidation and reprisals against our staff and their families in Iran.

"In 2017, the BBC made an unprecedented appeal to the United Nations to highlight what I described as an ‘unprecedented collective punishment’ of our journalists who are simply doing their jobs. I called on the community of nations to speak up for BBC Persian and uphold the universal right to freedom of expression. It is heartening that since then, the UN Secretary General, European Parliament, the Foreign Secretary and others around the world have made repeated calls for the Iranian authorities to end their campaign of harassment. I would personally like to thank everyone who has stood up for our journalists and assure you that BBC Persian will continue to argue for press freedom in the international institutions and beyond until the intimidation stops.

"Finally, I want to commemorate our BBC Afghan service reporter, Ahmad Shah, who was senselessly killed a year ago - almost to the day. He was a special colleague and is sorely missed. It was a terrible loss of a journalist who, like the others who died in the same attack, was simply doing his job. We send our condolences to them all."

Tony Hall
BBC Director-General