BBC urges UN to help protect rights of its Iranian staff

The BBC said it is appealing to the UN in Geneva to protect the human rights of its journalists and their families as Iranian authorities escalate "years of persecution and harassment", AFP reported Monday (March 12th).

The move follows the BBC's own unheeded calls to Tehran to end the harassment of staff working for the British broadcaster's Persian Service, according to BBC director general Tony Hall.

"The BBC is taking the unprecedented step of appealing to the UN because our own attempts to persuade the Iranian authorities to end their harassment have been completely ignored," Hall said in a statement.

"In fact, during the past nine years, the collective punishment of BBC Persian Service journalists and their families has worsened," he said.

Lawyers for the BBC World Service in October filed an urgent appeal to UN Special Rapporteurs David Kaye and Asma Jahangir on behalf of its Persian Service staff.

BBC journalists will now try to increase the pressure on member states for support by addressing a UN Human Rights Council session this week, the corporation said in a statement.

It also will hold a series of events organised in conjunction with the International Federation of Journalists to highlight the fraught situation, including a press conference on Monday.

"This is not just about the BBC –- we are not the only media organisation to have been harassed or forced to compromise when dealing with Iran," said Hall.

"We are now asking the community of nations at the UN to support the BBC and uphold the right to freedom of expression."

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