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BBC faces backlash for bowing down to Iran’s media blackout demand

BBC faces backlash for bowing down to Iran’s media blackout demand

Iran and the BBC have agreed to conditions whereby the media organization will clamp down on reporting on one of its TV channels, according to reports.

The BBC has allegedly agreed to not share reporting materials it gathers in Iran on its Persian language channel, BBC Persia. In emails obtained by the Huffington Post, staffers within the organization have stated their displeasure at the decision. Moreover, an internal memo stated that BBC staff must not publish material from foreign correspondent Martin Patience and his team on any BBC Persia channels.

As reported by the Huffington Post, the email stated: “It is absolutely imperative that none of their material is run on BBC Persian TV, Radio or Online now or in the future. That includes any official BBC Persian social feed retweeting or forwarding the coverage.”

“Please do not use the material and stories produced in Iran on any platform or in any format,” it continued.

Despite revealing the internal memo, it has not been confirmed who at the BBC agreed to those supposed terms.

The alleged agreement follows after Patience entered the country last week, with the correspondent tweeting that they were given “rare access” but also said that there were “some restrictions on our movements.”

In another email obtained by Huffington Post which was sent last February, it stated that one BBC Arabic correspondent was only allowed to cover the anniversary of the Iranian Revolution “on the condition that his pictures will be ‘no access Persia BBC’.”

Such was the displeasure of the alleged decision by the BBC that some staff members have spoken to the Huffington Post and have criticized the media organization.

One staff member reportedly said: “No part of the BBC should allow itself to become an accomplice to the Iranian government’s effort to isolate and punish us.”

The BBC and the Iranian regime have previously clashed, and in 2017, the assets of 152 current and former BBC Persia staff were frozen.

As a result, the BBC filed a complaint with the UN stating that it was a campaign against “fundamental human rights.”

In a statement regarding the apparent agreement with Iran, the BBC said: “All international media are subject to reporting restrictions in Iran.”

“We accepted some limitations on this occasion in order to provide our audiences with rare insights from inside the country and this is signposted in our coverage,” it added.

“As ever, the BBC maintains full editorial control over what we broadcast. These reports – our first from inside Iran in 5 years – do not change our unwavering commitment to our BBC Persian staff and their families, who have suffered completely unacceptable harassment from the Iranian authorities since 2009,” it asserted.

Last Modified: Thursday، 18 July 2019 06:34 AM