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PressTV

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PressTV

Press TV
194px
Launched 2 July 2007
Owned by Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting[1][2]
Picture format 720p HDTV
Slogan News anew
Country Iran
Language English
Broadcast area Worldwide
Headquarters Tehran, Iran
Sister channel(s) IRINN, Al-Alam News Network, HispanTV
Website Pacific Rim 12706 / 22500 / 3/4 V
Paksat-1R
Asia & Africa
4060 / 23000 / 5/6 H
ArabSat 5A
Middle East
12719/ 2960 / 3/4 H
Badr 4
Middle East
12054 / 27500 3/4 V
Badr 5
Central Asia
12303 / 27500 / 3/4 H
11881 / 27500 /5/6 H
Eutelsat 7A
Europe
11186 / 2892 / 5/6 V
Nilesat 201
Middle East
11823 / 27500 / 5/6 V
Streaming media
Live Webcast Video On Demand Livestation Free, 502 Kbit/s
YouTube channel PressTVGlobalNews

Press TV (stylised PRESSTV) is a 24-hour English language news organization of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB). Its headquarters are located in Tehran, Iran.

Background

Mohammad Sarafraz (Press TV CEO) said in a June 2007 press conference that, "Since September 11, Western bias has divided the media into two camps: those that favour their policies make up one group and the rest of the media are attached to radical Islamic groups like Al-Qaeda. We want to show that there is a different view. Iran, and the Shi'as in particular, have become a focal point of world propaganda. From the media point of view, we are trying to give a second eye to Western audiences."[3]

The network's official vision is "to heed the voices and perspectives of the people of the world; build bridges of cultural understanding; encourage human beings of different nationalities, races and creeds to identify with one another; bring to light untold and overlooked stories of individuals who have experienced political and cultural divides firsthand."[4] Sarafraz explained that "our experience tells us that pictorial reflection of news and the use of images are more effective than discussion and analysis."[5]

History of website and satellite TV launch

The channel's website launched in late January 2007.[6] Test satellite transmissions were conducted in late April 2007. The launch date for the channel was 3 July 2007.[7] The launch of the channel was attended by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. On 18 March 2009, Press TV launched a new website with a modified graphical user interface.[8] Press TV upgraded to widescreen format on 17 November 2011. The aspect ratio is now 16:9 instead of 4:3.[9] It is the first Iranian channel to upgrade its screen size to this format, and the second international news network based in the Middle East to do so after Al Jazeera English.

Funding and management

Press TV is state-funded[10] and is a division of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB).

The annual budget of Press TV is 250 billion rials (more than US$25 million).[11]

Press TV broadcasts news reports and analyses which are close to the official position of the Iranian government, and its programmes are monitored and regulated by the Islamic Republic.[12][13] Although there have been attempts to establish private, independent media outlets in Iran, notably by former Iranian Presidential candidate Mehdi Karroubi, the 1979 Constitution of the Islamic Republic mandates that "all broadcasting must exclusively be government-operated."[14]

Coverage

Press TV offers round-the-clock news bulletins every half-hour, a series of repeating commentary programmes and round-table panel discussions, as well as documentary-style political films. In May 2009, Press TV CEO Mohammad Sarafraz announced that Press TV would "provide viewers with more newscasts while cutting down on its news analysis programs."[5]

Press TV was created for the purpose of presenting news, images and arguments, especially on Middle Eastern affairs, to counter the news coverage that appears on broadcasts such those of BBC World News, CNN International and Al Jazeera English.[15]

According to mediachannel.org, "the government aims to use Press TV to counter what it sees as a steady stream of Western propaganda against Iran as well as offer an alternative view of world news."[16]

By launching an English-language television channel to promote an Iranian perspective of the world, together with an Arab-language station, the Al-Alam News Network, the Iranian government said it hoped “to address a global audience exposed to misinformation and mudslinging as regards the Islamic Republic of Iran."[17] The two networks focus on "difficult issues in the Middle East such as the United States’ occupation of neighbouring Iraq and the Shiite question."[14]

Controversies

Press TV has been the subject of several controversies, including allegations of anti-Semitism. In October 2012, the Anti-Defamation League issued a report detailing examples of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories broadcast as legitimate news on Press TV.[18] The report also identifies a number of American anti-Semites, Holocaust deniers, and conspiracy theorists who have been given a platform by Press TV to spread their messages.[19][20]

The BBC journalist Linda Pressly described it as pro-Palestinian, anti-sanctions against Iran, and critical of Western foreign policy.[21] Nick Ferrari, a former presenter of one of Press TV's shows, told The Times that Press TV’s news coverage had been “reasonably fair” until the 2009 election—but not any longer.[22]

Criticism

The station has been criticized for its anti-Americanism and uncritical embrace of conspiracy theories. For British journalist Nick Cohen the station is "a platform for the full fascist conspiracy theory of supernatural Jewish power"[23] and for commentator Douglas Murray it is the "Iranian government’s propaganda channel".[24]

Responding to Cohen and others, George Galloway, the British MP and Press TV's UK presenter, has said it "challenges the prevailing orthodoxy" by providing an outsider perspective on "the truth and a voice for the otherwise voiceless".[25] Mehdi Hasan of the New Statesman has argued that "engaging with Iran, no matter who is in charge in Tehran, is a prerequisite for peace and progress in the region. The very fact that Press TV is Iranian-owned makes it the ideal English-language platform on which to do so."[26]

Current presenters

  • Lauren Booth, anti-war activist and sister-in-law to former British prime minister Tony Blair, presents Remember Palestine and The Diaspora.
  • Derek Conway, another former Member of Parliament, presents Epilogue and Comment, on occasion.
  • George Galloway, a British Member of Parliament for Bradford West,[27] presents Comment and The Real Deal.[28]
  • Max Keiser, a financial journalist, hosts On the Edge.[29]
  • Tariq Ramadan presents Islam & Life.
  • Yvonne Ridley, British journalist
  • Amina Taylor presents The Big Story and Remember Palestine. She used to present Between the Headlines, before the end of the series.

Removal from Western and Asian satellites

In July 2013 Press TV and other Iranian channels have been removed from several European and American satellites (amongst others those of Eutelsat and Intelsat), allegedly because of the Iran sanctions, even though an EU spokesman told the channel that these sanctions do not apply to media.[30][31] In November 2012, the Hong Kong-based AsiaSat took Iranian channels off air in East Asia, and in October 2012 Eutelsat and Intelsat stopped broadcasting several Iranian satellite channels, though the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting managed to resume broadcasts after striking deals with smaller companies based in other countries.[31]

Personnel

Sarafraz announced[32] at the broadcast channel's launch press conference that Press TV intended to have correspondents in cities outside Iran, as well as four correspondents covering the Israel-Palestine conflict from Gaza, Ramallah and Jerusalem. He announced that many of Press TV's foreign-based staff and freelance correspondents would be non-Iranians and that training for some of the staff had been provided by "a BBC employee."[32]

Iran staff

News anchors include Kaveh Taghvai, Hassan Tavakoli, Kaneez Fatima, Homa Lezgee, Bardia Honardar, Waqar Rizvi, and Marzieh Hashemi.

North American staff

Press TV maintains a presence in the United States through intermediary companies. For instance, the discussion program American Dream is produced in Washington, DC by Atlantic Television News (ATN) which is based in Denmark.[33] It had previously been hosted by Mark Levine, who quit the show after alleging editorial interference.[34][35] Hank Flynn in New York and Ashantai Hathaway in Washington DC are freelance video journalists for Press TV in the US.[36]

Press TV's U.S. Desk features many who also write for anti-war website outlets maintained by Veterans Today, American Free Press (formerly known as The Spotlight which was founded by Willis Carto), and David Duke.


International correspondents

Press TV hires freelance journalists Kevin MacDermott in Dublin, Catherine Makino in Tokyo, Ali Rizk in Beirut, Anustup Roy in Paris, Danjuma Abdullahi in Abuja, Constanza Heller in Buenos Aires, Hami Farajollahi in Sydney, Joseph Kim in Seoul, Max Civili in San Felice Sul Panaro, Yousef Mawry in Sa'ada, Hanna Qassis in Ramallah, Serena Shim in Istanbul, Lizzie Phelan in Managua, Joshua Blakeney in Calgary, Margarita Bogdanova in Moscow, Mahmoud Hussain in Benghazi, Yaldaz Sadakova in Brussels, Sanjay Sethi in New Delhi, Aamer Trambu in Mumbai, Ivana Sethic in Sarajevo, Karim Gamal el-Deen in Cairo, Kamran Yousaf in Islamabad, Mohamad Ali in Damascus, Steven Ribet in Beijing and Rehan Nakvisson in Oslo.[45]

UK base

Press TV began its activities in London during 2006. Roshan Muhammed Salih is Press TV's news editor and chief correspondent.[46] Other London correspondents include Fareena Alam. Matthew Richardson is Press TV's legal adviser in London.[46]

Maziar Bahari and UK licence revocation

In June 2010, Channel 4, the British broadcaster, transmitted a programme featuring Maziar Bahari, a documentary maker and Newsweek contributor, who was arrested while covering the Iranian presidential election in 2009, and held in custody for 118 days. He alleged that a Press TV 10 second interview and 'confession' had been preceded by torture, and was given under the threat of execution.[47] Bahari, now a British resident, complained to Ofcom, the regulatory authority for the telecommunication industries in the United Kingdom.[47]

In May 2011, Ofcom ruled that Press TV was responsible for a serious breach of UK broadcasting rules by airing the 10 second interview with Maziar Bahari, accepting that it had been obtained under duress while he was held in a Tehran jail.[48] Press TV rejected Ofcom's findings and accused Bahari of being "an MI6 contact person".[49] A fine of £100,000 ($155,000 in January 2012) was eventually imposed in November 2011, reversing an initial decision to revoke Press TV's licence.[50] Press TV responded: "The British royal family exercises an overarching power over all branches in the political system of the [UK], including the government and the parliament, as well as on Ofcom."[50] At the beginning of December, The Observer journalist Nick Cohen called for Ofcom to revoke the station's broadcast licence, not only because behaviour towards Maziar Bahari, but in addition:
"If whites ran Press TV, one would have no difficulty in saying it was a neo-Nazi network. It welcomes British Holocaust-deniers such as Nicholas Kollerstrom, fascist ideologues such as Peter Rushton, the leader of the White Nationalist party – an organisation that disproves the notion that the only thing further to the right of the BNP is the wall..."[23]

On 20 January 2012, Press TV's licence to broadcast in the UK was revoked by Ofcom.[51] The investigation into the Bahari case had revealed the applying company's direct connection to Tehran, and that editorial control came from there. An invitation to change this in the licence had not been taken up by Press TV.[52] The unpaid fine was not the reason why Ofcom ended Press TV's licence.[53]

Geoffrey Alderman, the British historian and occasional Press TV contributor, attacked the Ofcom decision, and called for it to be reversed. He described the action by Ofcom as "thoroughly deplorable as well as palpably cynical".[54] Defenders of Press TV, including Alderman and the broadcaster's legal representative, Farooq Bajwa,[55] have referred to a formerly secret American diplomatic cable dated 4 February 2010. Later released by WikiLeaks, it says the British Government was at time “exploring ways to limit the operations of the IRIB's Press TV service”. This 'exploration' was in response to the jamming by the Iranian government of broadcasts by the BBC Persian Service and the Voice of America, also mentioned in the document[56] and mentioned by Alderman.

Removal from Astra satellite

On 3 April 2012, Munich-based media regulator BLM announced it was removing Press TV from the SES Astra satellite as they did not have a licence to broadcast in Europe.[57][58] However, the channel's legal team submitted documents to the court that proved Press TV could broadcast under German law. An administrative court in Germany accepted Press TV's argument and the legal procedures began. Munich's Administrative Court announced on Friday 15 June that the ban was illegal.[59] Recently (September 2012), the channel has again been unavailable on Astra 19.2E. An information screen is displayed.

Former presenters

  • Andrew Gilligan is a journalist who resigned from Press TV after he said that "taking the Iranian shilling was inconsistent with my opposition to Islamism.[60] Prior to his departure, Gilligan hosted The Forum that consisted of a "regular discussion show on the station, in which Islamism, and the policies of the Iranian government, were often debated and challenged."[60]
  • Ken Livingstone, a former Mayor of London.[61] He hosted Epilogue, a monthly book review program, and Comment on occasion.[62]
  • James Whale
  • Rebecca Masterton
  • Mike Mendoza

Current programmes

  • Africa Today – Analytical weekly review of political, economic and social events in Africa, the world's second largest continent.[63]
  • American Dream – A political round-table offering a "warts-and-all" picture of life in the USA from ghettos to gated communities.[64]
  • Autograph – A 25min weekly interview with academics, authors, politicians and dignitaries encompassing a range of topics from cultural to political issues.[65]
  • CinePolitics – A weekly 25-minute show. The show examines current cinematic releases, and explores the underlying political and social issues that shape them.[66]
  • Comment – A live show from London hosted by George Galloway. The format allows a studio audience to ask the presenter questions or argue with him.[67]
  • Iran – A 25-minute weekly show covering topical issues on Iran plus reports and interviews on major cultural events held in the country over the week.
  • Iran Today – A twice-weekly analysis of major political, economic, cultural and social events concerning Iran.[68]
  • Islam & Life – A weekly show presented by Tariq Ramadan in London, dealing with the challenges and opportunities facing Muslims, especially in the west.[69]
  • Reporters' File – A weekly reportage-oriented programme, dealing with various Iranian and world stories, from a local correspondent's perspective. The show was formerly produced & hosted by Joobin Zarvan; it is now produced and presented by Saeed Pourreza.[70]

Former programmes

  • Between the Headlines – A review of the day's headlines hosted by Mark Watts, Lauren Booth, Afshin Rattansi, Amina Taylor[71] and Jan Fossgard, aired live from London.
  • Canon – A 25-minute weekly show debating the legal perspective on the social and political issues around the world.[72]
  • Energy World – A 25-minute weekly show, dealing with current energy issues together with their political undercurrents, presented by former Russia Today host Amanda Burt.[73]
  • Epilogue – A 25-minute weekly programme on literature, featuring interviews with writers and critics, hosted by Derek Conway, Bob Stewart, Hugo de Burgh and James Whale.[74]
  • EuroFocus – Presented by Roshan Muhammed Salih and Fareena Alam, offers a weekly round-up of news and features from all over Europe.[74]
  • 4Corners – 25 minutes of live daily news commentary panel discussion. The show covered critical news stories from across the globe.The show was presented by Shahb Mossavat and Joobin Zarvan.[75]
  • Hart of the Matter – A show where veteran broadcast journalist Alan Hart engages a host of intellectuals, investigative journalists and activists, amongst others, in conversation.[76]
  • Hearts and Minds[77] – 45 Minute Panel Discussion on U.S. Foreign Policy produced in New York City. For several months, "Hearts and Minds" was presented by Alan Weisman[78] (former producer of the Charlie Rose Show, and author of biographies of retired CBS newsman Dan Rather and defence expert Richard Perle[78]) After Weisman, Stephanie Woods, a former reporter for the MTV News political news program Street Team '08,[79] assumed the role of host in June 2009 until the program's last broadcast on 30 September 2009.[80]
  • Middle East Today – 25 minutes of daily panel discussion on the region's most news-making events, broadcast live from Tehran. It is also aired on weekends, from Beirut by Mariam Saleh and Marlin Dick and Zeinab Safar.[81]
  • Minbar – A weekly Q&A about Islam presented by Ahmad Haneef.[82]
  • Off The Cuff – Another audience-driven programme hosted by James Whale and Mike Mendoza. The show focuses on controversial issues where the presenter asks the questions around the theme and the audience express their views.
  • Outside the Box – A weekly 25-minute show hosted by Tina Richards.
  • Women's Voice – A programme made by women for women. The show scrutinizes the status of women in the West and deals with their common issues, challenges and upheavals.
  • World Week Watch – Half-hour round-up of world events by Oscar Reyes and Kristiane Backer.
  • The Link - A weekly debate-driven talk show incorporating both experts and a studio audience dealing with a wide range of political, social, economic,environmental, sports and cultural issues affecting the world at large.The show was presented by Amir Arfa and Joobin Zarvan.

See also

Iran portal
Television portal


References

External links

    • PressTV free streaming
  • Press TV profile on USC Center on Public Diplomacy World Heritage Encyclopedia
  • How to watch Press TV for Free via Satellite in North America
Videos
  • Media war against Iran - PressTV (2012)
  • Press TV Live English Streaming - PressTV Online Stream
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