Britain pulls the plug on Iran’s Press
LONDON - Reuters
Police officers talk to a protestor outside the Iranian embassy in London. AFP photoIranian news channel Press TV was expected to disappear from British television screens on Jan. 19 after Britain’s media regulator revoked its licence in a move that could fuel diplomatic tensions with the Islamic nation.
Britain has been a focus of Iranian ire over steps to tighten sanctions over its disputed nuclear program. Britain shut Iran’s embassy in London and expelled all its staff in November after its embassy in the Iranian capital Tehran was attacked by a crowd angry at British sanctions. Press TV is a 24-hour news channel owned by the Iranian state, available via satellite around the world and on the Internet. Its English-language service was to be removed from Sky TV’s satellite platform in Britain later on Jan. 19 as a result of the decision. Press TV said on its website the move was “a clear example of censorship”.
The roots of the Ofcom decision lie in a ruling last month to fine Press TV 100,000 pounds for broadcasting an unauthorized interview with an imprisoned Newsweek journalist. Ofcom said it emerged during that case that editorial control of Press TV was exercised from Tehran rather than London and that the broadcaster had failed to amend its licence accordingly.