Britain fines Iran's Press TV

2011-12-01 14:38

London - Britain's broadcasting watchdog said on Thursday it had slapped Iran's Press TV with a heavy fine, leading the English-language channel to accuse the British royal family of trying to silence it.

Ofcom fined the state-run outlet £100 000 for showing an interview in 2009 with Maziar Bahari, an imprisoned journalist for US magazine Newsweek.

The regulator said it had also considered revoking the channel's licence but had instead decided to give it 35 days to transfer the licence to its Tehran headquarters from its London office.

An Ofcom spokesperson said it was the biggest fine that it had imposed for the type of offence.

The independent regulator said Press TV had invaded Bahari's privacy while filming the interview without his consent while he was in detention during protests in Iran in 2009, and that its treatment of him was biased.

The announcement comes amid a diplomatic crisis following the storming of the British embassy in Iran, with the British government expelling all Iranian diplomats from London and closing its mission in Tehran.

Ofcom however said there was no political influence from Britain's Foreign Office on its decision not to revoke the Press TV licence.

"We reject any claims that we've been influenced by them [the Foreign Office]," the Ofcom spokesperson told AFP.

The Iranian broadcaster accused the regulator of a "paradoxical" move and accused it of "threats to close down Press TV".

"Independent analysts say Ofcom is under mounting pressure from the British royal family to silence Press TV's critical voice," Press TV said in a statement on its website, which was posted on Tuesday.

"The British royal family exercises an overarching power over all branches in the political system of the country, including the government and the parliament, as well as on Ofcom."

Buckingham Palace was not immediately available for comment.

  • Chris - 2011-12-01 15:07

    How come the British family can't have anything bad said about them? Freedom of speech and opinion is dying all over the world. The leaders getting exposed for who and what they are, so they don't like it. They are using all the power to control the press. its happening in this country as we speak. They taking our freedoms away one by one if you can even say this world we live has real freedom

      Barry - 2011-12-01 19:48

      It is because Obama called Cameron and said I want you to be my lap DOG again. You must do this.

      Fidel - 2011-12-01 20:09

      Britain is the weak link in the US hegemony. Without UK endorsement to give them a figleaf i.e. Iraq , US cannot subvert international law. If the world has a problem then then it originates in Washington But the road to overturning Washington's plans lies via London....

  • ludlowdj - 2011-12-02 10:08

    Only the BBC is allowed to manipulate news items to suit the british upper dare the Iranians try it as well

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