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Iranian minister of culture considers BBC accusations baseless

07 October 2011 [08:35] - TODAY.AZ
Iranian Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Seyyed Mohammad Hosseini considers baseless the accusations of the BBC World Service Director Peter Horrocks that the relatives of staff working for BBC incur pressure from the government in Iran.

BBC promoted the colonial policy of Britain, caused a controversy in society, and therefore, its activity in Iran has been stopped, Hosseini said.

According to Horrocks, after BBC displayed a documentary film about the Supreme Religious Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Iran, six documentary filmmakers were arrested, also the families of ten Iranian staff working for BBC incurred pressure.

The journalists who cooperate with some foreign media outlets were warned to be attentive with the media outlets, of which activities run counter to the interests of the Iranian state. Some journalists have been punished, the minister said in an interview with Trend.

According to Hosseini, representative offices of more than 120 news agencies and television channels from different countries operate Iran. Introducing some rules with regards to these media outlets in the host country is quite natural. In the same way, the Iranian media outlets operate in other countries in accordance with the rules of those countries.

The minister said that at one time, the Persian desk of BBC worked in Iran, but it was engaged in fomenting strife between ethnic minorities and religious sects in Iran, so its activity in the country was stopped.

The activities of Iranian journalists have been limited in some European countries, considered to be the heralds of freedom of expression, including in France, they were driven out from the countries, the minister said.

"There were many people who came to Iran under the guise of journalists, but then engaged in spying," said Hosseini. According to the minister, the freedom of speech in Iran is at a high level, all conditions have been created for the media outlets in the country, more than 4,500 media outlets have been registered, of which 3,000 are currently working.

Last week, BBC displayed a documentary film made by Iranian filmmakers. The filmmakers Mujtaba Mirtahmasb, Katayun Shahabi, Nadi Afaride, Shakhnam Bazdar, Nasir Shafarian and Mohsen Shahnazdar were arrested on charges of spying and sale of the movie to BBC.

According to head of the BBC Persian desk, Sadeg Saba, these people are not official employees of BBC, have not made a special film for BBC, and sent to BBC a tape taken before.


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