Do Something!,  Iran

Bravo Iain and Oliver

This is from Iain Dale’s blog:

Why I Won’t Appear on Press TV Again
Iain Dale 11:59 PM

Press TV is a relatively new station. They’ve just got onto the Sky platform. It’s funded by the Iranian government. When I was first invited to appear on it, I wondered whether I should. But I decided engagement was the best way forward and decided that if ever I was censored or I noticed any form of overt Iranian bias I would refuse further invitations to take part. In all I have appeared about ten times over the last two years.

Over the last few weeks I have been invited on to several of their programmes (for which they offer a fee of £75) but have declined. I have been appalled at the way their website has portrayed what’s happened in the Iranian elections. Quite how they have complied with OfCom’s rules on objectivity, I don’t know.

Tonight, LBC presenter Nick Ferrari has resigned from his weekly Question Time type show (which I appeared on once), and Newsnight has just carried an item in which the station’s MD, Matthew Richardson appeared with Martin Bright. Having heard Mr Richardson on the radio last week and now seen his ridiculous performance against Martin Bright, it has confirmed my decision not to appear on the station again, and I shall also be instructing my three colleagues from Total Politics who have appeared on their programmes not to do so in future. I hope others will do the same.

This is the Newsnight segment:

The radio interview, where Richardson says the protests in Iran were “started irresponsibly”, is available here.

Perhaps Andrew Gilligan will take Dale’s advice. The Press TV show he presents, “Forum”, is broadcast on Sundays. Will he be there this Sunday?

As for presenters Lauren Booth, George Galloway, Matthew Richardson and Yvonne Ridley, I fear we are more likely to see the Supreme Leader converting to Buddhism than those four doing the right thing.

UPDATE: Bravo Oliver!

I wrote about Press TV a few months ago for the Jewish Chronicle, giving my own experience of the station. I’ve appeared occasionally as a guest on its discussion programmes. I found the station’s employees to be professional and friendly, and I have no reason to think that my contributions to the discussions were censored in any way, but on balance I think it was a mistake to appear and I no longer do so. Press TV is not a normal broadcaster.

The incident that caused me to decline all further invitations was the station’s promotion of the work of a Holocaust denier called Nicholas Kollerstrom. (As is well known, the President of Iran is a Holocaust denier who gleefully anticipates the extinction of Israel – an outcome that could be achieved only by unleashing a second Holocaust against the Jewish people.) When I explained this decision to a producer for Press TV who had invited me to appear on his programme, he said that he certainly didn’t approve of the article and would attempt to have it removed from the site. It’s still there, many months later. This shouldn’t need saying but I’ll say it anyway: I’m a strong supporter of freedom of speech for racists, a category that includes all Holocaust deniers. But The Times doesn’t publish the work of Holocaust deniers and nor would any other reputable news organisation.