Saturday Oct 15, 201102:51 PM GMT
Ofcom, British version of censorship
Wed Oct 12, 2011 4:35PM
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British media regulator, Office of Communications (Ofcom)
The UK Office of Communications (Ofcom) has succumbed to the British royal family's demands to ban Press TV activities despite the Iranian news network's compliance with the law.


The British media regulator has reportedly decided to remove the channel from the SKY platform. The move is considered to be an abuse of the UK media law and the result of mounting pressure on the organization by certain members of the royal family and government.

While being powerless to scrutinize the law compliance of such state-manipulated channels as the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Ofcom issued a verdict on May 23, 2011 that Press TV has breached its rules by airing a 10 second extract from an interview with Iranian-born Canadian Journalist Maziar Bahari while he was still in detention in an Iranian prison.

Bahari claimed in the interview that he had been lured into giving a Press TV interview in 2009 with the promise of release from jail on condition that he would "condemn Western media" and that his alternative option would be to wait six years in jail for his actual trial, after which he might face execution.

Despite cogent explanations provided by the Iranian news outlet that it "neither asked Mr. Bahari to condemn Western media, nor did Press TV broadcast any footage of Mr. Bahari doing so," the British media watchdog has since sought desperately to levy statutory sanctions against Press TV for what it calls "breaching Ofcom's Broadcasting Code."

The new decision to proscribe Press TV activities in London comes as the animus of the British government against Press TV has sharply grown in recent months. Wikileaks documents have demonstrated how the British Foreign Office has told the US Embassy in London that it is "exploring ways to limit the operations of … Press TV."

As an alternative international media outlet, Press TV took pains to break the mainstream media's total silence on the violations of international law and human rights committed by the UK government at home and abroad.

A telling example of these violations is the British government's violent crackdown on peaceful student protests in November 2010 against massive cuts to spending on higher education as well as on the huge social protests which broke out in cities across Britain in early August 2011.

On the international level, Press TV highlighted the UK government's measure to sell a considerable quantity of arms to autocratic Arab states in the Middle East and North Africa such as Bahrain, Libya and many other despotic regimes in the region, in order to help them crush the pro-democracy protests there. The British government also sanctioned the sale of a number of crowd control products to the Bahraini regime including CS hand grenades, demolition charges, smoke canisters and thunder-flashes.

With some 3.5 million UK children living in poverty, many Britons have been feeling "voiceless" and despicably unrepresented by the state-regulated media outlets, which prefer to pay lip-service to the royals and their star-studded wedding entourage wallowing in the luxurious comfort of their public-funded mansions unmindful of the plight of the common man down the street.

A quick glance at the senior decision makers at Ofcom reveals that the regulator is mostly made up of former Channel 4 and BBC executives, some of whom are well-linked to and influenced by powerful pro-Israeli politicians and US sympathizers.

Colette Bowe, the 63-year old Ofcom chairperson, is reportedly paid £200,000 a year to coordinate the body's different committees. Bowe enjoyed the exclusive support of Peter Mandelson, the main economic planner of the Labor party under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown and a Jewish politician with an obvious Zionist mindset.

Millie Banerjee, who was reappointed to the Board of Ofcom in October 2007 after serving for a five-year term, held a non-executive post in Channel 4 between 2000 and 2002.

Tim Gardam, who was appointed to the Ofcom board on January 1, 2008, is a broadcasting sector veteran with a 25-year career that began at the BBC.

Gardam is currently a member of Content Board and chair of Ofcom's Nations Committee, while serving on its Nominations and Remuneration Committee.

On October 5, Peter Horrocks, BBC's head of global services, urged the UK government to take action against Iran for what he alleged to be the suppression of "free media" by the Iranian authorities.

On September 20, Iran's Intelligence Ministry Heidar Moslehi announced the arrest of members of an illegal network charged with feeding the UK information under the guise of working for the state-run BBC.

According to an Iranian Intelligence Ministry statement, the members of the network provided the BBC with propaganda subjects to be exploited in psychological warfare by the enemies of Iranian nation.

MAB/HGH
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