New York, February 1, 2017—Customs and Border Protection officers should respect the rights of journalists to protect confidential information when subjecting international reporters to screening on their arrival to the U.S., the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
Ali Hamedani, a reporter for BBC World Service, told CPJ that border agents detained him at Chicago O’Hare airport for over two hours and questioned him when he arrived in the U.S. on January 29 to interview a Persian singer. The journalist, who said he was traveling on a Media I Visa, told CPJ that agents searched his phone and computer and read his Twitter feed.
Hamedani told CPJ that when he traveled to the U.S. on the same visa in November he did not have any issues at the border. The detention of the British-Iranian journalist came two days after President Donald Trump signed an executive order banning entry to the U.S. for 90 days for individuals from seven countries, including Iran.