The BBC has promised to fully investigate allegations that its Persian service has promoted the homophobic views of the Iranian regime.
The Director of the BBC World Service, Jamie Angus, gave this pledge to LGBT+ Peter Tatchell after he submitted a formal complaint to Tim Davie, the BBC Director-General.
The LGBT+ community in Iran was outraged on 28 December 2020 over a BBC Persian website post that called LGBTs “faggots” and an “abomination” and compared them to opium addicts and people who commit incest. The wording has since been amended but only after a public outcry.
It was also revealed at the same time that BBC Persian mocked LGBT+ Pride and apparently attempted to out an Iranian interviewee on air. This was broadcast on its TV channel on 6 July 2019. The video is still online, despite protests by LGBT+ Iranians who urged it to be removed.
In his letter to the BBC Director-General, Mr Tatchell condemns BBC Persian over its apparent “appalling homophobia,” its alleged “apologia” for the tyranny in Tehran and its seeming praise for “Jihad and martyr’s culture.”
Mr Tatchell is demanding a public apology and urging the “dismissal of the Director of BBC Persian.” He is also calling for an independent inquiry into the “administration, staffing, monitoring and content of the BBC Persian service;” querying whether “BBC Persian is infiltrated by staff who are apologists or possibly agents for the Iranian dictatorship.”