25 MARCH 2006, Page 22

Undercover reporter

From Lindsey Hilsum

Sir: No, I was not just having a bad hair week. Charles Moore asks (The Spectator’s Notes, 18 March) why I wore a headscarf while reporting from Tehran during the week of Channel 4 News from Iran. The answer is simple: Iranian law insists that women cover their heads. He suggests that a BBC reporter would not do this — in fact, the BBC’s resident correspondent, Frances Harrison, also wears a headscarf. If we refused, we could not remain in Iran. The alternative would be that only men reported from Iran; you may feel this is acceptable, but I do not.

I have reported from Iran several times since 1998, primarily for Channel 4 News but also for the Sunday Telegraph, Sunday Times, TLS, Observer and New Statesman. None of these publications seems to have felt that my reporting has been compromised by what I wear on my head.

Lindsey Hilsum International editor, Channel 4 News London WC1