Britain Revokes Iran’s Press TV License

Posted January 20th, 2012 at 4:05 pm (UTC-5)
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Britain's telecommunications regulator has revoked the license of Iranian state-owned television outlet Press TV.

Ofcom officials said Friday the Iranian English-language channel would disappear from British television screens by the end of the day.

Britain's independent broadcasting watchdog said that Press TV failed to obey a rule that its license should be held by its Tehran headquarters, instead of by its London office as is currently the case. It said London-based Press TV Limited does not qualify to register its license in Britain because its programs are subject to editorial decisions made in Tehran.

The Iranian network responded on its website, calling the decision “a questionable move” and a part of the British government's hostile campaign against the network for airing programs critical of Britain.

Last month the British media regulator fined Press TV more than $150,000 for broadcasting an interview that broke broadcasting rules by airing a 2009 interview with detained Newsweek correspondent Maziar Bahari without his consent.

Bahari was jailed as a suspected spy following Iran's disputed presidential elections and said his televised interview had been scripted by his captors, who threatened to execute him unless he cooperated.

Relations between Britain and Iran have been tense since November's storming of the British Embassy in Tehran. The British government expelled all Iranian diplomats from London and closed its mission in Iran's capital.