The Guardian reports:
Ofcom is to fine Iran’s Press TV £100,000 over an interview with Newsweek journalist Maziar Bahari that had been conducted under duress.
Ofcom has reversed its decision to revoke the broadcasting licence of Press TV, the Iranian state broadcaster’s English-language outlet, as tensions rise between Britain and the Islamic republic.
The regulator told Press TV last month that it was minded to ban it from broadcasting in the UK after the channel aired an interview with Maziar Bahari, an imprisoned Newsweek journalist, that had been conducted under duress.
However, after hearing final submissions from the broadcaster, and amidst a crisis in bilateral relations that has seen Britain withdraw members of its diplomatic mission from its Tehran embassy after the building was stormed by protesters, Ofcom is understood to have downgraded the sanction to a fine of £100,000.
After a year-long enquiry, Ofcom ruled in May that the channel, the overseas voice of the Tehran government, was guilty of a serious breach of broadcasting standards when it broadcast comments from Bahari, who was imprisoned for four months. The journalist said the interview was made under duress and that he was forced to read from a prepared script.
In a statement published on its website today, the channel said Ofcom’s decision to impose a fine was “paradoxical”. It added: “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.”
Whether you’ve seen it before or not, I urge you to watch this Channel 4 News report about Bahari’s coerced confession on Press TV so you can understand exactly what that station (and the Iranian regime that runs it) are getting away with.