#Iran regime’s Press TV propaganda channel loses UK licence

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Press TV, the Iranian state broadcaster’s English-language outlet, has been forced off the air in the UK after Ofcom revoked its licence for breaching the broadcasting code.
Maziar Bahari

Maziar Bahari - Image via Wikipedia

The controversial broadcaster had been threatened with being banned from broadcasting in the UK last year, after the channel aired an interview with Maziar Bahari, an imprisoned Newsweek journalist, that had been conducted under duress.

However, after hearing final submissions the media regulator decided to issue a fine of £100,000.

It emerged on Friday that Press TV has failed to meet the deadline for paying the fine, which was due in early January.

Ofcom said Press TV had been “unwilling and unable” to pay the fine and that it was “pursuing this”.

In addition, Ofcom has found that Press TV’s practice of running its editorial oversight from Tehran, Iran‘s capital, is in breach of broadcasting licence rules in the UK.

“Ofcom has decided to revoke the licence held by Press TV Limited with immediate effect,” the media regulator said in a statement.

Ofcom wrote a letter to Press TV in November highlighting the issue and offered a choice of two remedies under its UK broadcasting code.

The first was to switch editorial control for Press TV’s programming to the UK, the second to transfer the broadcasting licence to Iran.

“Broadcasting rules require that a licence is held by the person who is in general control of the TV service: that is, the person that chooses the programmes to be shown in the service and organises the programme schedule,” said the regulator.

“Ofcom gave Press TV the opportunity to apply to have its operations in Tehran correctly licensed by Ofcom and Ofcom offered to assist it to do so,” said the regulator.

Ofcom said Press TV failed to respond to or implement either of these two options.

“Press TV was given the opportunity to make representations on Ofcom’s ‘minded to revoke’ letter,” the regulator said. “Press TV has failed to make the necessary application and Ofcom has therefore revoked Press TV’s licence to broadcast in the UK.”

Ofcom has contacted BSkyB, the satellite broadcaster that carries the Press TV channel, to have it removed from its broadcast schedule. Press TV is expected to be removed from the Sky satellite service by the end of Friday.

George Galloway, the former MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, is Press TV’s best-known UK presenter. Galloway has previously been sanctioned by Ofcom for anti-Israeli bias in one of his Press TV shows.

Other regular contributors include Yvonne Ridley, the former Sunday Express journalist kidnapped by the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001, who subsequently converted to Islam.

Former Press TV presenters include Ken Livingstone, the Labour London mayoral candidate, and Lauren Booth, sister of Cherie Blair.

More details soon…

Iran’s Press TV loses UK licence | Media | guardian.co.uk.

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