Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Why I Won't Appear on Press TV Again

Press TV is a relatively new station. They've just got onto the Sky platform. It's funded by the Iranian government. When I was first invited to appear on it, I wondered whether I should. But I decided engagement was the best way forward and decided that if ever I was censored or I noticed any form of overt Iranian bias I would refuse further invitations to take part. In all I have appeared about ten times over the last two years.

Over the last few weeks I have been invited on to several of their programmes (for which they offer a fee of £75) but have declined. I have been appalled at the way their website has portrayed what's happened in the Iranian elections. Quite how they have complied with OfCom's rules on objectivity, I don't know.

Tonight, LBC presenter Nick Ferrari has resigned from his weekly Question Time type show (which I appeared on once), and Newsnight has just carried an item in which the station's MD, Matthew Richardson appeared with Martin Bright. Having heard Mr Richardson on the radio last week and now seen his ridiculous performance against Martin Bright, it has confirmed my decision not to appear on the station again, and I shall also be instructing my three colleagues from Total Politics who have appeared on their programmes not to do so in future. I hope others will do the same.

54 comments:

Bardirect said...

You are quite right to do this. Whilst they have shone a propagandist light on some Israeli matters today's revelations - of unfolded ballots with the same handwritten votes for madddinerjacket - show that the election was stolen and that they are not objective. Other Arab media and governments, even Libya, seem to be turning against Iran's "unelected" leader.

Sunny H said...

Do your three colleagues from Total Politics get a choice or will they be required to obey an edict from the head honcho, out of interest?

suzanne moore said...

But you do get more make up than even I ever thought possible....
Suzanne Moore

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Iain.

I disagree with almost everything you post, but I am proud to see you make this stance.

Iain Dale said...

Sunny, The clue is in the word "instructed".

archduke said...

even though i disagree with you even appearing on such a station in the first place - just look at the 30 year record of that fascist regime - i do understand that a media type like yourself does sometimes have to do things that are uncomfortable.

at least it gives us the chance , no matter how small , to air a different side to the propaganda.

heck - if the North Koreans had a station, i wouldn't think it would be unreasonable for a conservative like yourself to appear on it.


HOWEVER - the big danger with any fascist regimes media is that merely appearing on it , gives it an air of legitimacy.

its a very difficult tightrope to walk.

personally , i would never in a million years appear. but everyone is different. and thats fine by me too.

Iain Dale said...

Archduke, you are right. These decisions are always difficult. I can argue it either way, but in the end you have to do what you feel in your gut is right and justify it not only to yourself but to others. I could no longer do so, so made the decision.

ramalamadingdong said...

A show worth watching on Press TV is On The Edge with Max Keiser.

Keiser is a former investment banker who created and sold virtual trading technology to bond traders Cantor Fitzgerald. He's one of the few guys - along with Peter Schiff, Jim Rogers, Gerald Celente, Jim Sinclair, Marc Faber - to really know what he's talking about with regard to this economic crisis/banking heist. Check him out!

Paul Canning said...

Iain

Press TV yesterday aired a tortured confession by Newsweek's Maziar Bahari. BBC, CNN NYT were 'particular troublemakers'

UPI has it http://www.upi.com/Top_News/2009/07/01/UPI-NewsTrack-TopNews/UPI-31481246464000/

You made the right decision

Anonymous said...

So will you be returning the cash you've already pocketed then Iain? Given you've suddenly realised the Iranians are not quite the lovely huggable people you thought they were.

Guthrum said...

We also had deep misgivings about our appearance on Press TV especially on something so overtly paid for by a State. Considering what has happened in Tehran recently I very much doubt that we would wish to appear on it again.

However we could not 'instruct' any of the members of the Libertarian Party not to air their views, they would however be there in a personal capacity, authoritarianism always lurks in everyday decisions.

Desperate Dan said...

With the combined forces of po-faced, holier-than-thou, all-views-but-ours-must-be-censored ranged against them I think its all the more important that they should survive and prosper. If you choose not to appear on their channel fair enough but I don't understand why you should deserve praise or congratulations for your stance. I want to hear what they have to say particularly when they might be able to fill in some of the gaps left by our state broadcaster.

Alex said...

Iain, I am sorry that it took you so long to realise your mistake. A quick look at the Islamic Republic News Aagency website (thr English pages) should have told you how the media is controlled in Iran. Hving travelled to Iran on several occasions, I can vouch for the fact that news reporting there is a gross distortion, and your cooperation, albeit very remotely, was not your finest moment.

Cynic said...

Let them broadcast all they like provided they do so lawfully. It wont be on my viewing list but I do get a laugh out of watching the news on that Russian channel which consists mainly of stories of how wonderful Russia is (another new Gas field has opened!!!) and every dredged up story they can find to sow how awful life is in Western Countries. A sort of National Enquirer without the charm or sophistication

Azarmehr said...

Thank you Iain. As Iranian expats who watch the beatings and killings of our brothers and sisters in Iran, we thank you for having made the right decision. 'Evil Only Prevails When the Good Stay Silent'

paul said...

Ian - You were naive in the extreme.

johnny fellow-traveller said...

This post is pure Iain Dale.

"It took a few people to be murdered and brutalised on the streets of Tehran before I gave up my £75."

Tim Porter said...

Yes any right minded political commentator should seriously think about the situation in Iran when going anywhere near this station. I seriously object to this channel - which is essentially propaganda for a repressive violent dictatorship - being included in the cable channels provided by Sky/Virgin whoever. A cultural boycott is certainly needed here.

Scan said...

Iain,

Have you done/are you doing the same with the BBC? After all, they're just a mouthpiece for the administration.

Martin said...

Press TV is a joke. Anything that has that prat Galloway on is ajoke.

Also Loren Booth dressed up as a Muslim is a joke, although she would look better in a Burkha as would her sister.

Amir said...

Wise move sir...Press TV is an affront to every decent person and every proud Persian that doesn't support the murderers the Hezbollah/Hamas nexus.

Dave T said...

This may be a naive perspective, but could you not go on the channel and bring some balance to the coverage?

You could always waive the fee if you felt bad profiteering from propagandists.

Ramp said...

Johnny fellow said
"It took a few people to be murdered and brutalised on the streets of Tehran before I gave up my £75."

July 02, 2009 10:12 AM

Very unfair comment.

Anonymous said...

What pompous self serving tosh. Honestly Iain of all people I expected better of you, decent chap that you are. After all the Iranian government is pretty reprehensible. For instance how many places think it OK to hang people in public for being gay? And you took their schilling? Words fail.

William Prince.

Anonymous said...

You've done the right thing. They're a bunch of spineless morons and I hope Press TV employees and the Iranian government rot in hell.

Simon Gardner said...

“Quite how they have complied with OfCom’s rules on objectivity, I don’t know.”

Which is precisely the question a lot of us have wanted to know about Faux News for years.

Oscar Miller said...

Press TV is an anti-Semitic, Holocaust denying outfit. You should never have anything to do with them.

James Higham said...

Good for you, Iain.

Anonymous said...

You're well out of it Iain.

Only the Iranians could name a TV station after an older, precursor technology in the first place. What next? A car called The Bike? An airliner called The Zeppelin?

Anonymous said...

Bardirect - "Other Arab ". Eh ?

Chris Paul said...

What the hell were you doing on there in the first place Iain? That wasn't positive engagement that was cheque book principle i.e. none if the price is right. Oh and vanity.

"Instructed" is a stronger word than you imply Iain. Do you think it means "advised" or "suggested"?

Alec said...

>> Ian - You were naive in the extreme.

Well, there is that, Paul, but this is still a welcome realization.

Yet, I do have to ask how Ian could instruct his colleagues to do anything. If he can, surely they're subordinates?

Alec said...

And, of course, I know he has two eyes.

Iain Dale said...

Every time you comment on this blog Chris, you make an even bigger fool of yourself.

You might have had a point if it was for £500 (Galloway gets £2500 per week), but even you can't believe I am anybody's for £75. As for vanity, well, we can all plead to that. Having a blog is an exercise in vanity in some ways. So is appearing on any form of TV or radio. Jealousy is, of course, another description of an emotion which afflicts those who don't get invited onto programmes so they have no decision to make.

Instructed is quite clear. Another word is ordered.

Banafsheh said...

Dear Iain, as an Iranian activist I must commend you for standing up to these spin doctors of the Mullahs. Here is a clip, from this past Sunday (June 28th) of an interview that myself (I'm the woman being interviewed in the clip) and Dr. Walid Phares (Lebanese scholar) talking to Fox News's David Lee Miller about the fact that Press TV is the Iranian regime's propaganda machine: http://theconfrontation.net/wp/?p=401

Iain Dale said...

Alec, Don't be a fool. I run a company, which is generally run on a consensual basis. From time to time, I, as MD, have to make a decision which my staff will implement. This is one of those occasions. The fact is, they all agree with it anyway.

Anonymous said...

Guido handled it better. You went the English way, by gathering up your petticoats and storming out (not meant homophobically). Probably as I would have done myself, but Guido's approach will get under their skin.

Iain Dale said...

Anonymous at 3.55 - On two programmes I told them exactly what I thought of their President. The programmes were live and uncensored. We all have different ways of making the same point.

Alec said...

Iain, it wasn't my intention. I wasn't sure what you did professionally... I do approve fully with you did.

Chris Hall said...

Hi Iain

A wise decision to quit your affiliation with Press TV. I have watched this so-called 'information' channel and I find it comparable to Faux News in it's unbiased reporting.

Nick Ferrrari made the right decision - now we only have to hope that James Whale does the same too (and any other LBC presenters who have any dubious relationship with this channel)

As a non-Tory, I like your blog and find it an interesting and thought provoking read.

Keep up the good writing and work Iain.

Chris

Anonymous said...

Good decision, Iain. Shame you didn't object on principle in the first place though.

Hamish said...

Wow Iain, you are a Managing Director.
We do need more people in politics who have experience in running a business.
But I'm not impressed by any MD who instructs their employees what to do in their free time.

neil craig said...

Anybody think there is AN chance of anybody representing the views of the Iranian regime or Slobodan Milosevic or even Putin being allowed to say live, uninterrupted & uncensored some inconvenient facts about our leaders?

I volunteer to go on & accuse any minister of the time of being a war criminal over the attack on Yugoslavia & of genocide, the sexual enslavement of children & of dissecting 1,300 Serbs while alive. With details.

Anybody think BBC not far more likely to censor than Iain admits PTV haven't.

Anybody think Ofcom as likely to object to BBC censorship as PTV's?

Me neither.

Chas Newkey-Burden said...

Ouch, Matthew Richardson's performance on Newsnight was *terrible*.

I agreed with Bright on one point in particular: Richardson should just be man enough to come out and admit what Press TV is.

They are a hideous bunch and I applaud you, Iain, for - belatedly - making this move.

Chas N-B said...

PS - According to Press TV viewers, Coronation Street is a Zionist plot. So there we go - the Rovers Return will never seem the same again!

http://www.oyvagoy.com/2009/02/coronation-street-is-a-zionist-plot/

Anonymous said...

And so, just to be clear, you're not paying the rest of the money that you've previously pocketed in fees back then?

Anonymous said...

Dear Lian,

I am an Iranian living in UK. A friend of mine in Iran was hit with a batoun in the face, another was shot in the leg. They were on the protests. I was ashamed of myself not being able to join them and fight with them. All I could do was joining the protests in front of Iranian embassy here in London. And then I was thinking. How comes Iranian government arrests so many journalists and throw them out of the country, while the Iranian pro-government Press TV in UK can operate safely?
My friends have to be beaten but there is no press inside Iran allowed to talk about it and yet these anti-democracy parasites come here and make use of the free society and run their news propaganda agency. It is like a spit in our face. I really do hope Ofcom shuts them down.

Thank you from my heart, that you didn't go!
H.

Anonymous said...

If Anon @ 9:36 is Iranian, then I am a garden gnome.

Anonymous said...

Can you stop appearing on this blog as well?

Anonymous said...

anon at 10:59

why doesn't he or she sound Iranian? I'm Iranian and to me he/she sounds very Iranian.

to the first comment who said: "Other Arab govornments, even Lybia ...etc.

Your point is correct but either your grammer or your historical/geographical awareness may be not that excellent. Iran is not an arab country, but a Persian one. Thus sating "even Other arab govornments" when you talk about Iran is not really a correct statement.

Winston said...

Excellent decision. thanks

Un:dhimmi said...

We all make mistakes, but your righteous indignation at this point rings a little hollow. You were aware that Press TV was a tool of the Mullahcracy before you started to appear on it - and of the company you would be keeping - but you went ahead anyway.

You knew the people behind the station were hanging people from cranes well before the elections. Did you really think you could win people like this around by engagement?

Anonymous said...

Dominic Lawson writes an interesting article in today's Sunday Times
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/dominic_lawson/article6638036.ece

Edwin Moore said...

Yes well done. Dominic Lawson has a good piece on them in today's ST -

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/dominic_lawson/article6638036.ece