Thursday, February 02, 2006

BBC News blind to Iran’s violation of human rights

Why is it that BBC News seemingly refuses to report on Iran’s violation of human rights?

The story of the teenage rape victim sentenced to death by hanging for having killed one of the three men who had tried to rape both her and her niece was nowhere to be seen on the BBC News website, an omission which BBC’s NewsWatch tries to excuse by saying that the story “became known on a weekend” and that stories missed by BBC News and “covered widely elsewhere” the BBC avoids covering. An excerpt of the NewsWatch reply to a comment on the issue follows.

However, the fact it isn't running shouldn't be seen as an act of censorship - we have covered the issue of Iran's human rights in the past:

“In the past”? Biased BBC writer Ed Thomas puts it best.

'In the past'- oh, ok, we only bother with Iran as a kind of academic, history exercise. It's not like their business is news or anything. And it was the weekend- the three billions of public money just couldn't cover that

The story linked to goes back 5 months and was published only on the basis that Amnesty International expressed “growing concern” — how else can such scarce coverage of Iran’s violation of human rights be explained?

The American Expatriate revealed BBC News’s extraordinary interest in US executions. Iran executed at least 159 people in 2004, yet BBC News apparently published only the following articles covering executions in the country in that year.

In 2005, there were more than 120 executions in Iran since Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s term began on the 3rd of August, 2005 and many more before that date. It seems BBC News published only the following articles reporting on this issue last year.

Those that rely on BBC News for impartial coverage of violation of human rights have a lot hidden from them, as revealed by sites such as Iran Focus, Human Rights Watch and the National Council of Resistance of Iran’s. The following list enumerates BBC News articles covering Iran’s abuse of human rights in 2004 and 2005.

BBC News does not report on, say, Iran’s secret police arresting hundreds of union activists, the three men flogged in public for drinking in December 2005 and the two men hanged for homosexuality in November 2005. There are many other such stories of which even the most appalling aren’t reported by the BBC.

Why are these events not covered by BBC News?


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