Ofcom fines Press TV £100,000 over 'unfair' Iran demonstration report

Ofcom has fined UK-based Iranian satellite news channel £100,000 for being unfair to journalist Maziar Bahar in a 2009 report about unreset in Iran.

In summary Ofcom said: “On 1 July 2009, Press TV broadcast a news item that reported an attack that had  taken place on 15 June 2009 on a Basij base in Tehran by the supporters of the unsuccessful Iranian presidential candidate, Mr Hossein Mousavi, during a post election demonstration. The item contained images of demonstrators throwing stones and what appeared to be petrol bombs at the buildings.

“The programme’s presenter commented that the reporting of the demonstration by some TV news channels had been biased by not showing the attacks on the base by the demonstrators. Footage obtained by Press TV of demonstrators attacking the base and footage taken from the Channel 4 News report of the security forces shooting at the demonstrators from the roof of the base were shown together by way of comparison.

“The report then showed interview footage of Mr Maziar Bahari in which he said he had sent a report about the attack against the base to Channel 4 News and to Newsweek magazine.”

Ofcom concluded:

“Press TV’s presentation of Mr Bahari in the programme broadcast was unfair in that it omitted material facts and was placed in a context in which inferences adverse to Mr Bahari could be drawn.

“Press TV did not obtain Mr Bahari’s consent to his participation in the programme and this contributed to the overall unfairness to Mr Bahari in the item broadcast.

“Press TV’s filming and broadcast of the interview without Mr Bahari’s consent while he was in a sensitive situation and vulnerable state was an unwarranted infringement of Mr Bahari’s privacy.”

The full Ofcom adjudication is available here.

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