BBC Files Complaint About Online Violence Towards Female Journalists

The BBC World Service has filed an urgent complaint to the United Nations on behalf of women journalists working for BBC News Persian who have been subjected to online violence.

The complaint elaborated on how female journalists from the BBC News Persian face online harassment and assault, including threats of rape and death daily.

A fake news report claimed that a BBC News Persian presenter had been raped by a colleague known to Iranian audiences, and a bogus photo blog showed her with her “illegitimate kid, resulting in her father’s investigation by authorities, who informed him that she had kept the information from her family because she was humiliated about having been raped by a coworker.

These gendered attacks also include a fabricated story that got published by an Iranian newspaper wherein a blog was set up in the name of a presenter, where she wrote about her allegedly polygamous and affluent sexual life in London, using hacked images from her Facebook profile to make the blog appear legitimate.

Journalists have been arrested and convicted in Iran for national security crimes, including those that carry the death penalty, and BBC News Persian journalists are unable to return home due to the possibility of detention and punishment.

“We absolutely deplore the violent, misogynistic, and gendered harassment our women journalists have to face every day. Trusted and impartial journalism is fundamental to any democracy and it is only by working together that we can ensure the safety of journalists everywhere and ensure women’s voices are included. We have to be able to work unhindered, free from threats and free from abuse.” Said Liliane Landor, Senior Controller of BBC International News and Director of World Service.

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