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Push off now, Press TV, and take your conspiracy theories with you

20 January 2012

A week that began with an insane decision from the European Court of Human Rights has come to an end with a sensible
decision from Ofcom. The Iranian government’s propaganda channel in London, Press TV, has just had its license to broadcast revoked.

Insomniac Islamists will no longer be able to enjoy their weekly dose of programmes presented by the likes of Lauren Booth, Tariq Ramadan or Derek Conway. And of course they will now forever
miss The Real Deal with George Galloway. On that show you could see such treats as Galloway interviewing
‘President’ Ahmadinejad
. It is a wonderful interview, not least thanks to Galloway’s thoughtful attempt to lay out the terrain for his interviewee, explaining that he
himself needed ‘police protection in London from the Iranian opposition because of my support for your election campaign. I mention this so you know where I’m coming from,’ he added

As my colleague Houriya Ahmed pointed out last month, Press TV showed its colours in great and small
matters. Muslim and non-Muslim presenters alike are required to wear head coverings while on air and broadcasting from London. But it was during the Green Revolution in 2009 when things were
at their worst. The murder of Neda Agha Soltan by supporters of the regime was dismissed by Press TV as a Western conspiracy.  The channel did everything it could to ignore, diminish and
then deride the popular and brave uprising on the Iranian streets. During this period Tariq Ramadan — now of Oxford University — used his programme on global issues not to focus on
the gunning down of young protestors on the streets of Iran by the bosses of Press TV, but, rather, to focus on the dangerous rise of ‘Islamophobia’ in Europe.

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Repeatedly criticised by Ofcom, last year Press TV went too far even by its standards when it ran an ‘interview’ with the imprisoned Newsweek journalist Maziar Bahari. This
‘interview’ was carried out with the interviewee under duress in an Iranian jail.

Since that moment Press TV has been under the kind of pressure it should have been under from the start. Last October the channel was told by the regulator that it was ‘minded’ to
revoke the license.  The following month this was converted into a £100,000 fine. But Press TV has failed to pay the sum. Ofcom has also found that the fact that Press TV’s editorial
oversight is done from Tehran breaches broadcasting licence rules in Britain.

Doubtless there will be much new bluster from Press TV and, indeed, from the dictatorship in Iran over this matter. Reminding us of the nature of the conspiracy-theory mindset, when Ofcom came
to its October decision, the channel claimed the regulatory body was succumbing to ‘demands’ made by ‘the British royal family.’ Who knew?

The fact that the Iranian government is no longer able to run a propaganda station from London is a cause for celebration. Only the fact it was able to do so in the first place can sour the
savouring of this moment.

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Show comments
  • RaveDance

    I’m not surprised they got taken off the air

  • John

    It is unfortunate that press tv has been censored but it had to done because there is such a large islamic population in the uk, and there is fear that the militant anti-western tone of press tv would incite that population to commit possible bombings during the 2012 olympic games in London.

  • Vegetables Matter

    Sorry to hear Press TV has been taken off the air, I thought their sports coverage was fantastic. Didn’t think much of their news coverage though, seems like the shooting of Syrian children who were protesting has never happened! Obviously an editorial over site due to the carrier pigeon being shot down by Israeli F16 on it’s route from Tehran to London. The world of comedy will also be mourning the loss of the hilarious Mr Galloway on our TV screens. OFCOM should be ashamed of themselves. Where else am I going to get my comedy kicks from? Fox News. I don’t think so.

  • Jez

    So you saw Sky’s Libyan uprising footage too then.

    …. i wonder how the democracy’s getting on out there btw?

  • Vince Taylor

    Strange reason for refusing the licence. I don’t believe for a moment that ultimate editorial control of Sky News lies anywhere other than Rupert Murdoch.

  • No Good Boyo

    Some bizarre reactions here. Press TV has been taken off air here not because of its coverage, but because it repeatedly violates broadcasting regulations. If Fox did the same, it would face the same sanctions.

  • Owen Morgan

    Well, it seems that the entire audience of Press TV has turned out to protest about this article. If you’re so angry and so insistent that the word of the Iranian mullahs is God’s honest truth, why don’t you go and live in Iran? (Oh, I suspect some of you already do, but the rest of you useful idiots won’t be missed.)

  • chrisg

    Sorry I mean the nincompoop Galloway!

  • chrisg

    The only good thing I’ve heard about Galway is that he disliked Gordon Brown. File in the same box as Soviet apologists of the 1930s!

  • Jez


    it’s a really basic crappy attempt at a news channel and the presenters have all the impartiality of their counterparts in North Korea- or Geg Dyke.

    It really does give you an insight to what these clowns are thinking though….. a little like the BBC News with their liberal agenda.

    They support the regime changes in Libya, Egypt and Tunisia. It was interesting to see their take on the Bahrain uprising to the West’s and they’re very hypocritical regards the Syrian civil war right now compared to previous stances.

    What is the point of banning it. Whoever from the West that believes masses of viewers would sit down and follow this channel need to reevaluate their conclusions on the basic intelligence levels of the British public.

  • Jim Peters

    This is typical of the spectator which seems to support the truly bias mainstream media which are no more than governmental propaganda channels – a bit of investigative and factual reporting that might shed some light on the duplicity and hypocrisy of this government and they run scared

  • lescam

    “The fact that the Iranian government is no longer able to run a propaganda station from London is a cause for celebration”

    What a pity that the BBC is still able to run a propaganda station for the Labour party.

    I don’t know about Press TV, never having watched it, but I would love to see the BBC disbanded. At least Press TV presumably don’t have the effrontery to charge a licence fee for the pleasure of having obnoxious, leftwing c**p shoved down our throats every night, plus dumbed-down news which gives the impression that the newsreader is addressing a class of six-year-olds.

  • john gerard


    “We need news from ALL sources and its a shame that Press TV has been banned. Who’s next?”

    Hopefully, the BBC.

  • Jez

    This is utter bollocks.

    Who in their right minds would take notice of what Press TV says?

    It is utter nonsense. No one who actually matters right now in the UK (although maybe in 20-30 years if we’re a Islamist republic) actually believes that this 3rd world attempt at a TV channel is nothing less than first hand Islamist crap from Iran being spewed out.

    But it gives you an insight to what the Islamists are thinking….

    like the backing of Hague’s (et al) Islamist take over of Egypt, Tunisia and Libya.

    Yet again weak, short sighted imbecility from people who need to wake up maybe.

    It is amazing.

  • David Lindsay

    How and where does one apply to join the apparently essential “Independent Editorial Board” of Fox? Or Sky News? Or the BBC News Channel?

  • David Lindsay

    The superb Epilogue has provided a home for Derek Conway, whose son was paid as a part-timer on the lowest point of the lowest quartile, and yet look what happened.

    Whereas, to cite an example almost at random, Jacqui Smith’s husband was paid as a full-timer on the highest point of the highest quartile, despite doing nothing more than keep the constituency house in which she claimed not to live anyway. Yet look what did not happen. She was on This Week again last night.

  • Regina

    you can’t kill an idea, just like you can’t kill Guevara .it is a mind set. Now let me go do some censoring of my own by canceling both Sky and the TV License. Hey people just see press tv on line, what’s the prob ?

  • TruthExists

    Large statements for Weak evidence Spectator I’m dissapointed.

  • Paul Green

    Galloway says – Champions of liberty the British govt have now taken Press TV off Sky. Nothing about the hundreds of journalists that languish in Iran’s jails.

  • tobi anderson

    what conspiracy theories? I have got more information about the lies we’re being told in the UK by the govt and the so called mainstream media from Press TV and RT than any other station in the UK. This is just a move to silence alternative news which doesnt subscribe to the cosying up of media and govt that has erroded any chance of getting facts from the Media in this nation. Of course they’ll get local news right but when it comes to foreign affairs its riddled with lies and corruption and prestv is one of 2 stations that discuss, expose, debate and report about this.

  • David Lindsay

    Andrew Gilligan used to be the highest paid presenter on Press TV. Even Oliver Kamm has appeared on it. As, repeatedly and for payment, has Dr Alan Mendoza, Executive Director of the Henry Jackson Society.

    Fox “News” and its Sky and Beeb wannabes have got what they wanted through their servants at Ofcom. Al Jazeera and Russia Today, watch out.

  • Maggie

    This isn’t a sensible decision from Ofcom, its patronising bias from people who think Richard Desmond’s porn channels are worth licensing. Viewers are perfectly capable of watching Press TV, or Russian TV or the BBC, and recognising that stories are spun, trimmed and edited to satisfy the prejudices of the producers. We need news from ALL sources and its a shame that Press TV has been banned. Who’s next?

    • omar

      It is sickening to hear everyday how the west is a beacon of freedom of speech, especially when the alternative point of view is prevented from broadcasting because it is educating the population about the lies the governments and mainstream media spread,
      …..and yet we look across to Iran and what do we see?
      ….the western media companies still being allowed to broadcast there.


  • Heartless Curmudgeon

    Yes, – well that decision by the EUSSR ( yes yes I know, – but the whole bally lot are the same to me!) – merely reposes the Question WHEN IS THE H2B GOING TO MOVE TO GET US OUT OF THE EUSSR?!!!

    Please will someone – as another commentator suggested, – hold his feet to the fire!

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