Wednesday Nov 30, 201108:48 AM GMT
Paradoxical verdict: Ofcom fines PressTV
Tue Nov 29, 2011 7:29PM
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In a paradoxical move and despite earlier threats to close down Press TV, the British government's broadcasting regulator has imposed a 100,000-pound fine on the alternative news network.

Ofcom announced last month that it has decided to remove the Iranian English-language news network from the Sky platform under the pretext that Press TV made administrative errors in its application for a license in 2007.

However, in its latest move, the regulator has decided to impose the 100,000-pound fine for what it calls Press TV's infringement of a journalist's privacy.

Ofcom claims Press TV violated the regulator's broadcasting codes by airing a 10-second soundbite belonging to the journalist, Maziar Bahari, in 2009.

In the 10-second clip, which was part of an interview conducted with Bahari, he said, “On Monday, June 15 [2009], I sent a report about the attack against the base, a military base of Basij to Channel 4 News as well as to Newsweek magazine.”

The 100,000-pound fine by Ofcom has now been imposed on Press TV over broadcasting the 10-second soundbite.

This comes while, in numerous later interviews with Western media outlets, Bahari himself readily confirmed what he had said in the 10-second soundbite, i.e. he was the person who sent the footage.

Independent analysts say Ofcom is under mounting pressure from the British royal family to silence Press TV's critical voice. The British royal family exercises an overarching power over all branches in the political system of the country, including the government and the parliament, as well as on Ofcom.

Press TV had criticized the royal family's lavish expenditures at a time of great economic difficulty in the UK. The royal family later sent a message to Press TV, asking the network to stop criticizing them.

Recent documents released by WikiLeaks revealed that US and UK diplomats had explored ways to limit the operations of Press TV in Britain.

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