UK Pulls Iran’s Press TV, Reporters Maintain U.S. Presence in Washington
On Friday, Britain’s independent media regulator revoked Press TV’s license, forcing the shutdown of Iran’s state run network from UK televisions by the end of the day.
Ofcom, the British telecommunications regulator said that Press TV did not have control over the the content they were broadcasting, which is required under British law, and because editorial decisions were being made in Tehran the broadcasting license was pulled.
Press TV responded, calling the decision “a clear instance of censorship”.
“The UK has been really tough against them and there’s been a long brewing problem here”, said Steve Stalinsky, Executive Director of the Middle East Media Research Institute in Washington.
The Wall Street Journal seemed to confirm Stalinsky’s statement:
The threat of sanctions has been hanging over Press TV since May, when Ofcom ruled that the station broke broadcasting rules by airing a 2009 interview with detained Newsweek correspondent Maziar Bahari.
Mr. Bahari was jailed as a suspected spy following Iran’s disputed presidential elections and said his televised interview had been scripted by his captors, who threatened to execute him unless he cooperated.
According to Stalinsky, Press TV had a Washington office but it was closed 3 years ago. “They got shut down and I remember at the time, I heard they were kicked out of D.C., but I look at their web site frequently, they have staff that are everywhere in D.C. They’re all over Capitol Hill, they’ve done stories from outside the Pentagon…it’s very surprising they’re allowed to do this.”
He added that despite being made aware of Press TV’s presence around Washington, law makers aren’t that interested in addressing any concerns.
“I don’t see anything changing unless a politician wants to make it an issue.”