While Iran enables Hamas to develop rockets and weaponry aimed at the destruction of Israel it wages a more subtle campaign against the BBC and its reporters. Minister tells me “We condemn the persecution of current and former BBC Persian employees and their family members.”

May 17, 2021 | Featured parliamentary activity

Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State for South Asia and the Commonwealth
Prime Minister’s Special Representative on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict
King Charles Street
London
SW1A 2AH
Tel: 0207 008 5000

The Lord Alton of Liverpool
House of Lords
London
SW1A 0PW

14 May 2021

Dear David,
Thank you for your correspondence of 13 April about the harassment and intimidation of BBC Persian Service journalists both in the UK and in Iran.
We condemn the persecution of current and former BBC Persian employees and their family members, including those who have had their assets frozen or are banned from leaving Iran. These actions by the Iranian authorities contravene multiple international human rights obligations, including restrictions on media freedom.
We continue to raise this harassment directly with the Iranian government, as well as in multilateral fora, including the Human Rights Council. In October 2020, at the UN Third Committee, we urged Iran to cease their harassment of journalists and media organisations; and in March 2021, at the Human Rights Council, we made clear to Iran that their repeated violations of human rights are unacceptable.
The UK has a long history of a vibrant and independent media, underpinning the values of our democracy. The UK has long supported media freedoms, both at home and overseas. The Media Freedom Campaign, launched on 1 November 2018, demonstrated a new wave of commitment to shine a global spotlight on media freedom and increase the cost to those abusing media freedom and persecuting journalists.
A free and independent media is an essential component of a functioning society, leading to greater stability and prosperity. People must be able to discuss and debate issues freely, to challenge their governments, and to make informed decisions, supported by access to information provided by a strong, robust and independent media. Journalists must be able to investigate and report as they see fit.
Be reassured that we remain in close contact with the BBC World Service. My officials most recently met them on Monday 19 April, and we continue to provide advice on how best to support them.
Yours sincerely,
LORD (TARIQ) AHMAD OF WIMBLEDON
Minister of State for South Asia and the Commonwealth
Prime Minister’s Special Representative on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict

Lord David Alton

For 18 years David Alton was a Member of the House of Commons and today he is an Independent Crossbench Life Peer in the UK House of Lords.

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