Ofcom revokes Press TV's UK licence

Iranian state broadcaster Press TV has had its UK licence revoked by Ofcom over fears that control of the broadcaster rested not in London but with Press TV International in Tehran.

In a statement Ofcom said that throughout 2011 it was involved in a dispute with the broadcaster over an interview it claimed was ‘obtained under duress’from Newsweek and Channel 4 journalist Maziar Bahari while in an Iranian prison.

In May 2011 Ofcom held it to be a serious breach of the Broadcasting Code and fined Press TV £100,000 – and in October it warned the media regulator that it was minded to take the channel off air.

“Broadcasting rules require that a licence is held by the person who is in general control of the TV service: that is, the person that chooses the programmes to be shown in the service and organises the programme schedule,” said Ofcom.

“Ofcom gave Press TV Ltd the opportunity to apply to have its operations in Tehran correctly licensed by Ofcom and Ofcom offered to assist it to do so. Press TV Ltd was given the opportunity to make representations on Ofcom’s ‘minded to revoke’ letter.

“Press TV Ltd has failed to make the necessary application and Ofcom has therefore revoked Press TV’s licence to broadcast in the UK.”

A spokesperson for Ofcom confirmed it had contacted BSkyB to have Press TV removed from its broadcast schedule today.

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