Developments in Iran and Afghanistan have provided news organisations in the United States with one of their most torrid periods for years.
SV: AFGHANISTAN Newsmen milling in the lobby of the Kabul Intercontinental Hotel. (2 shots)
SCU: Afghanistan soldier speaks to newsmen
SV PAN: IRAN: Camera equipment trolley pushed out of hotel in Teheran
SV: American checking out at hotel desk
SV: More camera gear taken outside and loaded on to truck (2 shots)
SV PAN: Car leaves hotel
LV: Airport road direction sign
SV: Airport porters dragging trolley load of camera equipment.
SV: Portrait of Ayatollah Ruhallah Khomeini in airport lounge
SV: More camera equipment on trucks waiting for despatch
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Developments in Iran and Afghanistan have provided news organisations in the United States with one of their most torrid periods for years. On Monday, (14 January) Iran's revolutionary government ordered all American correspondents out of the country. Four days later, on Thursday (17 January), the Afghan government issued a similar order in Kabul, and warned newsmen from other countries they will receive the same treatment unless their reports are objective and truthful.
SYNOPSIS: There are between 30 and 50 American correspondents in Afghanistan. They heard the expulsion order in the lobby of the Kabul Intercontinent Hotel, where they'd been held by armed security guards, after chaotic scenes over demands that they surrender their passports. The reason, according to the ruling Revolutionary Council, is a charge that they had been trying to increase tension and disrupt the normal life of the Afghan people.
American newsmen in Iran suffered the same fate earlier in the week. About one-hundred accredited corespondents -- including television crews -- were given until midnight on Saturday (19 January) to quit the country. The Ruling Revolutionary Council declared the ban on the grounds of biased reporting.
It's been a week of packing delicate and expensive camera equipment for the Americans. Their departure reduces the Western news contingent in Iran by about fifty percent. Iran's Revolutionary Council statement variously accused the Americans of continuing bad propaganda, of distorting news about Iran and of insulting the Islamic revolution and the country's national sanctity.
Some of the newsmen headed for the airport within hours -- others took a couple of days to depart. A few are waiting until the last minute, reluctant to surrender their watching brief over some fifty American hostages held at their embassy for the past two months.
British and West German journalists in Teheran also live under the threat of expulsion. They've been warned that they too will have to leave if they continue filing reports considered by the Revolutionary Council to be biased against the new Iranian administration.