Continuing a noted dislike for creative types, Iran has arrested six filmmakers who they claim are creating negative news stories about the country while in the employment of the BBC Persian Service. Today, the BBC released a statement affirming that the news service had purchased the rights to the filmmakers’ films, but disavowing that they were direct employees.
According to Fox News, the filmmakers were not identified by name.
This move comes amidst the claims by the Iranian government that the BBC is responsible for encouraging and creating dissent amongst its citizens which led directly to the large-scale protest of the 2009 presidential election wherein incumbent Mahmoud Ahmedineejad beat reformist challenger Mir-Hossein Mousavi. It also comes after the Iranian government effectively ended the career of internationally known director Jafar Panahi in December of last year.
Is the BBC setting the record straight, or is it redefining employee status in order to help them get out of detainment? Without more information, it’s unclear what exactly is going on here, but it’s still safe to say that Iran is not a big fan of free speech.