From a firewalled article in tomorrow’s Times:
Shirin Ebadi, the exiled Nobel Peace Prize winner, and other victims of the Iranian regime expressed outrage today on learning that Ken Livingstone is presenting a monthly show for a television station widely seen as Tehran’s propaganda mouthpiece in the West.
They accused Mr Livingstone, Labour’s candidate for Mayor of London next year, of lending legitimacy and credibility to Press TV, which broadcasts from Hanger Lane in northwest London, and of showing contempt for Iran’s oppressed people.
“It is totally wrong for any British politician to work for another state which is hostile to the British Government and manipulates its mobs to burn the British flag in the streets of Tehran,” Dr Ebadi told The Times.
Maziar Bahari, a London-based journalist for Newsweek who was held in Tehran’s infamous Evin prison for four months after the election and forced to “confess” on Press TV that he had plotted against the Islamic Republic, said that by accepting its money Mr Livingstone was “sending the message that the Iranian regime is doing the right thing in oppressing the people of Iran and that interviewing torture victims is OK”.
Mr Livingstone, who is paid about £500 a time for presenting a book review show called Epilogue, put the telephone down when approached by The Times yesterday. He said this newspaper was widely regarded as propaganda tool for Rupert Murdoch and asked whether the journalist felt comfortable working for someone with a record of “smashing” trade unions.
Whataboutery in its purest form. Does Livingstone know anything about his Iranian employer’s own record when it comes to smashing trade unions and imprisoning union leaders?
And if he refuses to talk to reporters for a newspaper with a “record of smashing trade unions,” will he at least talk to us? Harry’s Place, to my knowledge, has never smashed a trade union and we have no connection to Rupert Murdoch. Drop us a line, Ken.
(Hat tip: Potkin Azarmehr)