The Times: It is called Press TV, is funded by the Iranian regime, and opponents say that from its nondescript offices off Hanger Lane in northwest London the 24-hour news station is beaming pro-Tehran propaganda into homes across Britain.
It is called Press TV, is funded by the Iranian regime, and opponents say that from its nondescript offices off Hanger Lane in northwest London the 24-hour news station is beaming pro-Tehran propaganda into homes across Britain.
Nick Ferrari, a leading British radio presenter, quit his show on the station yesterday in protest at the regime crushing dissent after the Iranian elections, but Press TV continues to employ plenty of other Britons — including MPs and Cherie Blair’s sister.
It operates freely in this country, even as foreign journalists are ejected from Iran. It advertises on London buses.
The regime set up Press TV two years ago to break the “stranglehold” of the Western media — and its coverage of the election and the aftermath has certainly been different.
Stories featured on its website yesterday carried headlines such as “Ahmadinejad vows to break global monopoly”, “Ahmadinejad orders probe into Neda’s ‘suspicious’ death”, and “Guardian Council closes file on Iran election”.
Ofcom, the broadcast regulator, is investigating a complaint that Press TV has breached its duty to be accurate and impartial, and many Iranians living in Britain are appalled that it can operate so freely.
“They’re the mouthpiece of a vicious regime. Their motto is, ‘We give voice to the voiceless’. In fact, they give voice to liars and murderers,” says Potkin Azarmehr, a popular blogger.
“Why should foreign journalists be unable to report on the crimes taking place in Iran when Press TV poisons the minds of young Muslims here without any hindrance?”
Ferrari, who hosts LBC’s weekday breakfast show, told The Times that Press TV’s news coverage had been “reasonably fair” until the election — but not any longer. “I imagine they’ve been told what to do, and I can’t reconcile that with working there,” he said.
Press TV also employs Cherie Blair’s sister Lauren Booth, the MPs Derek Conway and George Galloway, and the journalists Andrew Gilligan and Yvonne Ridley.
Booth told The Times that her weekly programme, Remember the Children of Palestine, was “too important for me not to make it”.
Gilligan, Ridley and Mr Galloway said that their shows were not subject to political interference, and they would quit if they were.
Another MP, Jeremy Corbyn, said that he had withdrawn from a forthcoming Press TV programme about Western media coverage of the election, fearing bias.
Press TV failed to return telephone calls yesterday.
A spokesman for Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, said: “The advertisements for Press TV [on London buses] are due to conclude this Sunday. Should they seek further advertising space, Transport for London will seek advice from the Committee for Advertising Practice.”