On September 27th 2010 the launching ceremony for the Persian-language service of EuroNews was held at the European Parliament in Brussels. Two staff members of the Iranian Embassy in Brussels were invited to attend.
With over 40 journalists in prison, Reporters Without Borders calls Iran the “world’s biggest prison for journalists” in the world. After the controversial 2009 presidential election, many Persian journalists and activists fled abroad due to harassment, fear of prison, and torture.
Based on a report by the Persian-language news service Radio Zamaneh in Amsterdam, Mr. Philippe Cayla, Chairman and CEO of EuroNews, no members of the Iranian Embassy in Brussels were invited by the organization. Mr. Cayla also said that it seemed that staff from Iran’s Embassy participated in the ceremony because of their contacts in the European Parliament.
This issue has created a wave of anger in the Persian-Dutch community.
As the citizens of this democratic European country we would like to know who is responsible for inviting the Islamic Republic Embassy staff to the ceremony launching the new Persian service of EuroNews.
The situation of human rights and freedom of speech in Iran is getting worse and representatives of this government should not be welcomed in such ceremonies. Human rights and freedom of speech are two basic values in Europe. Violators are not welcome here.