Tyrannical regimes seek to control what their populations read, see and hear, lest the people obtain information that might encourage them to question the power that subjugates them, writes Roy Greenslade for the Guardian
Tyrannical regimes seek to control what their populations read, see and hear, lest the people obtain information that might encourage them to question the power that subjugates them. Some go to extraordinary lengths, reaching far outside their borders, to prevent that happening.
One obvious example was the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Turkey last October. A single, bloody act, it made headlines around the world. As it should have.
By contrast, sadly, too little attention has been paid to an insidious long-run campaign of persecution by the Iranian authorities against the staff of the BBC Persian service. It is marked by cowardice and a lack of humanity.
Concerned at the lack of publicity about the situation, the BBC recently staged a special press conference chaired by its world affairs editor, John Simpson. It highlighted what its lawyers regard as “an unprecedented collective targeting and punishment of journalists”. Result? Few, if any, headlines in mainstream media.
Doubtless that failure to heed what Simpson called Iran’s “contemptible behavior” did not go unnoticed by the tyrants in Tehran. So, they will take heart from that and their under-reported attempts to silence BBC Persian will continue and, possibly, escalate.
As they stand, the facts are shocking.
Read the full article on the Guardian website