Iran's Press TV loses UK licence

George Galloway George Galloway is one of the more well known faces who presented on Press TV

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Iranian news network Press TV has had its licence revoked by the media regulator Ofcom and will no longer be allowed to broadcast in the UK.

Ofcom said the state broadcaster's English language outlet had breached several broadcasting licence rules over editorial control of the channel.

Press TV has also failed to pay a £100,000 fine imposed last year.

The channel called the decision "a clear example of censorship". It will be removed from Sky on 20 January.

The £100,000 fine was imposed last year after the network broadcast an interview with imprisoned Newsweek and Channel 4 journalist Maziar Bahari, which the Ofcom said had been conducted under duress.

Ofcom said Press TV had "indicated it is unwilling and unable to pay".

It was during the investigation into the Bahari interview that the media regulator formed the impression that editorial decisions on the channel were being controlled by the offices in Tehran, instead of the UK.

Press TV was given the opportunity to respond and make the relevant amendments needed to comply with the broadcasting code, but "failed to make the necessary application", Ofcom said.

In a statement issued to the BBC, Press TV's newsroom director Mr Hamid Emadi said: "We asked Ofcom if Press TV Limited did not have control over the broadcast, why was it getting fined, if it did have control, why would the licence be revoked?

"Ofcom contradictions are nothing new for Press TV. The British government's tool to control the media has, on several occasions, changed its decisions regarding Press TV in its two-year campaign against the alternative news channel."

The statement also claimed that Ofcom, which it called "the media arm of the Royal family", had failed to respond to a letter sent by its Chief Executive earlier this month.

Press TV channel launched in 2007 to break what Iran's state broadcaster called a Western "stranglehold" over the world's media.

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