Ofcom hits Iranian TV channel with £100K fine

Editor ©RapidTVNews | 01-12-2011

Plunging Anglo-Iranian relations to a new low, UK broadcast and telecoms regulator Ofcom has imposed a financial penalty of £100,000 on Iranian news channel, Press TV.

The announcement of the fine, whose timing could not have come at a worse time, only hours after the UK government order the closure of the Iranian embassy in London, regards a 2009 interview on Press TV. Ofcom revealed that it had made its finding on 23 May 2011 in one of its Broadcast Bulletins yet the sanction has just been made.
Following what is says was a period of investigation, Ofcom found that Press TV had breached Rules 7.1 and 8.1 of its Broadcasting Code in its presentation of imprisoned Newsweek journalist Maziar Bahari. It was considered unfair in that it omitted material facts and was placed in a context in which inferences adverse to Bahari could be drawn. Furthermore Ofcom ruled that the channel did not obtain Bahari’s consent to his participation in the programme and this contributed to the overall unfairness. Indeed Ofcom went as far as to say that filming and broadcasting the interview was an unwarranted infringement of privacy.
As well as hitting Press TV withy the financial penalty, Ofcom has directed the channel not to repeat the material found in breach on any future occasion.
Ofcom added that it also found evidence that Press TV International, based in Tehran, was in effective control of the TV service rather than the London-based body that presently holds the Ofcom licence. Ofcom has given Press TV 35 days to bring the service back into compliance by applying to transfer the licence to the correct body.