Press TV should have been allowed to keep rolling

The now-banned Iranian television channel, controversial though it was, was just part of a broad spectrum of satellite news that ranges from Russia Today to Fox

Al-Jazeera as the Royal Television Society news channel of the year? Absolutely: distinctive coverage of the Middle East with its own distinctive voice and special access. But I wish I didn’t feel quite so queasy about the disappearance from UK television sets of Press TV, the Iranian-financed outfit that Ofcom dumped a few weeks ago (because it hadn’t paid a fine and because it didn’t re-register from Tehran to London).

Television news by satellite is a very broad church, from Russia Today to Fox. Press TV wasn’t the greatest. You could see its slip or burqa showing rather too often. But it was a voice out there, peddling its own perspectives, a part of the spectrum. Banning it on bureaucratic grounds looks a mite self-serving. The lack of RTS protest about its treatment doesn’t help. And the argument that this isn’t censorship because you still get it on your laptop is pretty daft. Why, then, go out and make a redundant gesture in the first place? © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

from Peter Preston


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