Tue Sep 11, 2012 5:15PM
The first hearing of Press TV’s complaint against fugitive journalist Maziar Bahari on charges of spreading lies to disturb the public opinion will be held in Tehran on October 16, 2012, informed judicial sources tell Press TV. Bahari, who worked as journalist for the Western media, had been arrested in Iran during incidents which followed Iran's 10th presidential election in 2009. Upon his release on bail, Bahari went to London and filed a lawsuit with the British media regulator Ofcom against Press TV. Following two years of political and legal tug-of-war, Ofcom imposed a 100,000-pound fine on Press TV and banned the broadcast of the channel’s programs in the UK. Bahari’s complaint was based on a 10-second clip of his interview with Press TV in which he said, “On Monday, June 15, 2009, I sent a report about an attack against a Basij base to UK’s Channel 4 as well as to Newsweek magazine.” The footage showed selected parts of the incidents which sparked the Western media hype against Iran. Bahari accused Press TV of interviewing him under duress and torture. He was never able to prove his allegations and even Ofcom dealt with his complaint against Press TV several months after the expiration of the legal respite. Refuting Bahari’s claim, Press TV filed a lawsuit against the fugitive journalist at an Iranian court of law. The Iranian English-language channel contends that Bahari’s baseless accusations provided the British imperial government with a pretext to fine Press TV’s office in London and ban the broadcast of its programs in Britain. The ban evoked extensive reaction of media activists across the world, particularly in Britain. The activists reprimanded London for restricting freedom of the press and called for the resumption of Press TV broadcast in Britain. ASH/SS