Press freedom: TV station says Iran has threatened UK-based journalists

Press freedom: TV station says Iran has threatened UK-based journalists
Press freedom: TV station says Iran has threatened UK-based journalists

Press freedom: TV station says Iran has threatened UK-based journalists

  • David Gretten
  • BBC

Press freedom: TV station says Iran has threatened UK-based journalists

image shared, Iran International

A UK law enforcement source confirmed that two British-Iranian journalists working for UK-based Persian-language broadcaster Iran International have received an official life-threatening warning.

Volant Media, the group that owns the channel, said Britain’s Metropolitan Police were briefed on Monday of an increase in serious threats from Iranian security forces.

The company denounced “the escalation of the state-sponsored campaign to intimidate Iranian journalists working abroad.”

Iranian authorities did not comment on the news.

However, they (Iranian officials) last month announced sanctions against Iran International and BBC News Farsi, accusing them of “inciting unrest” and “supporting terrorism” for their coverage of the anti-government protests that have gripped the country for the past two months to have .

The two UK-based channels are already banned in Iran, but the Press Authority says they are among the most important sources of news and information in a country where independent media and journalists are constantly persecuted.

Volant Media said in a statement that it was “shocked and deeply concerned” by the threats received by the two journalists, which it attributed to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, a powerful military weapon closely related to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

“The Metropolitan Police have now officially informed both journalists that these threats pose an imminent, credible and significant risk to their lives and the lives of their families. The Metropolitan Police have also directly informed other members of our staff of separate threats.”

“These death threats against British nationals on British soil come after several weeks of warnings from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and the Iranian government against the operation of free and uncensored Persian-language media outlets operating in London,” the company said.

Volante Media warned that “the IRGC must not be allowed to export their vicious media campaign to the UK” and called on the UK government to “support us in condemning these appalling threats and continue to emphasize the importance of media freedom”.

In a statement to the BBC, the Metropolitan Police said: “We do not comment on security protection issues in relation to specific individuals.”

image shared, Iran International

BBC Home Affairs correspondent Daniel Sandford said a British law enforcement source had not commented on reports in Britain’s The Daily Telegraph that a “hostile Iranian surveillance team” had been sighted outside journalists’ homes and offices.

Last year, UN experts expressed their “serious concern at persistent reports of harassment and intimidation of BBC News Persian staff and their family members, apparently aimed at preventing them from continuing their journalistic activities”.

The experts identified a pattern of harassment suffered by BBC journalists over the past decade, including “systematic attacks, including harassment, asset freezes, serious threats and smear campaigns by authorities against BBC News Persian journalists”.

UN experts also expressed concern about the BBC’s surveillance, harassment of its sources in Iran, questioning of journalists’ families and pressure on journalists to “quit their job”, which is having a negative impact on journalists and having “horrible repercussions” on them the press might have .

Iran’s response to the UN experts was that the BBC’s journalists aimed to “overthrow the regime of the Islamic Republic,” a claim the BBC stressed was false.

US prosecutors also announced last year that four Iranian intelligence officials have been charged with plotting the kidnapping of a New York-based journalist critical of Iran.

The Iranian government called the allegations “ridiculous and unfounded”.


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