Ofcom has ruled that George Galloway repeatedly breached broadcasting standards on impartiality during a series of Press TV programmes on which he described Israel as a terrorist gangster state and a miscreant, law breaking
rogue, war launching, occupying state.
The media watchdog also found that Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn did not show due impartiality when he appeared on the Iranian-backed channel as a guest on Galloway's weekly Comment show.
An initial complaint against the former Respect MP and pro-Palestinian campaigner was made last February following a segment on the death of a Hamas operative in a Dubai hotel.
An Ofcom investigation found that the piece was in breach of standards for inequitably representing alternative viewpoints .
The regulator also found examples of breaches of impartiality in other episodes of Comment in May and June 2010, involving comments which could be interpreted as being pro-Palestinian and highly critical of the actions of the Israeli
government and its military forces.
Under Section 5 of the Ofcom code, broadcasters must ensure that on such programmes neither side of the debate is unduly favoured.
However the report said Galloway's show did not adequately provide the Israeli viewpoint on a programme about the flotilla incident. Investigators found that when opposing views were included the material was used only to give the opportunity
for the programme to further criticise the Israeli government.
In addition, it was demonstrated that Galloway treated pro-Israel viewer contributions, in a very different way to how he treated the pro-Palestinian perspective: [He] used the alternative opinions made by the viewers, which were contrary to
his own, only as vehicles to punctuate what could be classed as a form of ongoing political polemic, delivered by the presenter directly to camera and unchallenged.
Ofcom said it would arrange a meeting for Press TV to discuss its impartiality procedure.
Ofcom to investigate complaints about extremist material on Press TV
It does seem a strange area for TV censors to get involved with. In narrow a view there is bound to be something said within the scope of preaching, that breaks the politically correct TV rules and can qualify for a rebuke as required. But
somehow the issues are way too political for TV censors. Probably a bit of a hot potato that really really nobody wants.
Ofcom has confirmed it is investigating the satellite channel, Press TV, after receiving a complaint from a viewer over its extremist messages.
Press TV is Iranian based and broadcasts in English and Urdu.
Programmes on Peace TV have included praise for mujahideen fighting British troops in Iraq, labelled Jews as an enemy of Islam and made claims about the 9/11 terror attacks being an inside job .
Press TV have come in for newspaper attention as a key figure in the company, Zakir Naik, has been banned from entering the UK for extremist preaching and that his presence was not conducive to the public good . The decision, later upheld
by the High Court, was based on a sermon the Mumbai-based preacher had posted on the internet during which he said every Muslim should be a terrorist .
In his failed appeal against Ms May's decision, held last November, the cleric's lawyers revealed Naik was director and chairman of Universal Broadcasting Corporation Ltd, a company registered in Britain. UBCL owns a subsidiary firm, Lords
Production Ltd, which has held the broadcasting licence for Peace TV since 2007.
Conservative MP Patrick Mercer, former shadow minister for security, said: The Home Secretary dealt with Naik extremely effectively. I think she will be furious to discover he still has a licence to spread his poison on satellite television.
Ofcom should revoke it immediately.
An Ofcom spokesman said: We are in the middle of an investigation about Peace TV. Ofcom will not tolerate extremism on British television, and transgressors will be dealt with.
The UK Office of Communications (Ofcom) has succumbed to the British Royal Family's demands to ban Press TV activities despite the Iranian news network's compliance with the law.
The British media regulator has reportedly decided to remove the channel from the SKY platform. The move is considered to be in violation of the UK media law and the result of mounting pressure on the organization by certain
members of the Royal Family and government.
article for yourself, or perhaps better to wait for confirmation from other sources
Ofcom has reversed its unpublished decision to revoke the broadcasting licence of Press TV, the Iranian state broadcaster's English-language outlet, as tensions rise between Britain and the Islamic republic.
Ofcom had apparently told Press TV last month that it was minded to ban it from broadcasting in the UK after the channel aired an interview with Maziar Bahari, an imprisoned Newsweek journalist, taking his words seriously when in fact the
interview had been conducted under duress.
However, after hearing final submissions from the broadcaster, and amidst a crisis in bilateral relations that has seen Britain withdraw members of its diplomatic mission from its Tehran embassy after the building was stormed by protesters, Ofcom
is understood to have downgraded the sanction to a fine of £ 100,000. Details of the sanction are expected to be published this week.
According to the WikiLeaks cables, the Foreign Office told a US diplomat in 2010 that the UK government was exploring ways to limit the operations of ... Press TV. At the time, the department warned the US that UK law sets a very high
standard for denying licences to broadcasters. Licences can only be denied in cases where national security is threatened, or if granting a licence would be contrary to Britain's obligations under international law. Currently neither of these
standards can be met with respect to Press TV, but if further sanctions are imposed on Iran in the coming months a case may be able to be made on the second criterion .
A Foreign Office spokesman said that there had been no government intervention in the process.
Press TV have issued another propaganda peice suggesting that Ofcom are set to ban the satellite channel from broadcasting with a UK licence.
Press TV writes in a website posting:
London has spared no effort in its two-year-long battle against Press TV. Its media tool, Ofcom, is now about to revoke the channel's broadcast license, hoping this desperate measure will silence criticism.
And in a coincidently timed piece, the Wall Street Journal points out that Iran is regularly jamming BBC programmes targeted at Iran:
As uprisings rolled across the Middle East this year, Iran stepped up its jamming of the BBC, Voice of America and other Western networks with Persian-language news channels. The move is intended to prevent Iranian audiences from seeing
foreign broadcasts the Iranian government finds objectionable, five networks protested in a joint statement this month.
Some 45% to 60% of Iranians watch satellite TV, according to estimates from the state media company and an Iranian research center, exceeding the number believed to use the Internet. Iran so far seems to be winning a struggle to filter out
unwanted TV content and broadcast its own propaganda: The country jams channels like the BBC on Western satellites even as Iran's state media company broadcasts pro-government news on some of the same satellites, and at times has aired forced
confessions of political detainees.
Iran is having it both ways, said a U.S. State Department official. While they benefit from the international community's respect for 'freedom of expression' and 'freedom of the airwaves,' they deny that same right to their own
citizens, aggressively jamming Persian-language broadcasts from other countries.
Ofcom has revoked the licence for Press TV to broadcast to the UK.
Ofcom cites The Communications Act 2003. Under section 362(2) of the Act, the provider of the service for the purposes of holding a licence is the person with general control over which programmes are comprised in the service.
In the course of correspondence and meetings with Ofcom, statements made by Press TV Limited about the operation of the Licensed Service failed to satisfy Ofcom that the Licensee had general control over which programmes and other services were
comprised in the Licensed Service. Ofcom therefore concluded that Press TV Limited had ceased to provide the Licensed Service in accordance with section 362(2) of the Act and that, accordingly, it was appropriate to revoke the Licence.
Iranian propaganda channel, Press TV, claims to have resumed broadcasting its programs in the UK on the Sky Platform since the beginning of July.
The Iranian news network is broadcast on channel 200 of the Sky Platform for four hours a day, two of which are recorded programs from a day earlier.
Channel 200 is home to Controversy TV which broadcasts from 6am until 10pm. It is unclear whether Press TV is supplying Controversy TV with progamming or else somehow using the unused night time hours.
The channel was banned nominally for licensing issues. But its troubles began when the channel aired news featuring comments from a detainee clearly under duress, but then used the statements as if they were freely given.
Arqiva and Eutelsat have jointly agreed to terminate broadcasts via Eutelsat's Hot Bird satellites of channels belonging to Iran. Ten TV channels in total were switched off on Monday, October 15.
The move includes Iran's international English langauge news channel Press TV, as well as the Arabic news channel Al-Alam.
The Paris based satellite operator said in a statement:
This decision was based on reinforced EU Council sanctions and a confirmation by France's broadcasting authority that the Sahar 1 TV channel that broadcast in IRIB's multiplex of television and radio services should be permanently switched off.
IRIB has been informed of the termination of its contract. Transmissions consequently ceased this morning through the Hot Bird transponder.
The removal of the channels affect viewers in Europe, Northern Africa, and the Middle East but not Iran.
Update: Censors Complain when their Propaganda is Censored
Denouncing the hypocritical Western suppression of free speech, hypocritical Iranian media officials expressed 'outrage' over a decision by Europe's largest satellite providers to cease transmission of Iran's 19 state-operated satellite
television and radio channels that broadcast to Europe and parts of the Middle East.
The decision came as the European Union expanded its list of sanctions against Iran over its disputed nuclear program. The satellite blackout has deprived the Iranian channels of an audience abroad that represents 200 million households.
Without mentioning Iran's censorship of many Western media outlets, the official Iranian reaction was that Europe had attacked its own values of freedom of speech. Ezzatollah Zarghami, the head of Iran's state-run radio and television
They must understand the time of censorship is over. They want to prevent our views from being heard, but they will fail.
The Iranian propaganda channel Press TV has been dropped from the Intelsat satellite.
Other channels such as Hispan TV, Al-Alam, IRIB 1 and 2 and Sahar TV were all removed at the same time, with the Luxembourg based Intelsat stating that it will no longer provide services to Iranian channels as of July 1st.
The reason given for the decision was that Intelset had to abide by US sanctions imposed on Iran's state-run radio and TV company, Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), and its president, Ezzatollah Zarghami.
But protests from the Iranian government have thus far fallen on deaf ears, in no small part due to the regime's own hypocrisy in this area. The Iranian government continues to jam signals from European satellites into Iran, a policy dating back
to 2009. Among the affected broadcasters are BBC Persian, France24, the US-funded Voice of America and Germany's Deutsche Welle.
Press TV has already been banned from UK TV and from Eutelsat's Hotbird satellite.