Ofcom revokes Iranian TV channel's licence

Joseph O'Halloran ©RapidTVNews | 22-01-2012

In a move that has been expected for some time, UK broadcast regulator Ofcom has revoked the transmission licence held by Press TV Limited with immediate effect.

In December 2011, and following what it 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.
Ofcom went as far as to say that filming and broadcasting the interview was an unwarranted infringement of privacy and imposed a £100,000 fine on the Iranian news channel. The channel indicated it was unwilling and unable to pay the £100,000 fine. Ofcom is pursuing this as a separate matter.
Following the fine, Ofcom gave Press TV Limited the opportunity to apply to have its operations in Tehran correctly licensed by Ofcom who also 'offered to assist' it to do so. Ofcom added that even though Press TV Limited was given the opportunity to make representations on Ofcom’s “minded to revoke” letter, it had failed to make the necessary application.
Given such a failure to comply with its mandate, Ofcom thus revoked Press TV’s licence to broadcast in the UK. Press TV will likely be removed from the Sky TV platform almost immediately.