The Iranian government-funded international English-language channel, Press TV, has been criticised by Ofcom for its impartial treatment of content. In a bulletin published today, the broadcasting regulator said that it found two of George Galloway’s Press TV programmes, Comment and the Real Deal, in breach of its broadcasting code.
“Ofcom considered that within the Programmes overall, there was not an appropriately wide range of significant views included and that the views that were included that were contrary to the opinion of the presenter, were not given due weight. As a consequence, Ofcom considered the Programmes to have breached Rules 5.11 and 5.12 of the Code.”
Ofcom received complaints suggesting that the programmes ‘failed to put both sides of the argument in relation to the situation in Gaza; constituted Iranian propaganda; and that George Galloway in particular did not conduct a balanced discussion on the issue of Gaza’.
“Press TV maintained that all the Programmes complied with the rules on impartiality in Section 5 of the Code, and it highlighted how it had included sufficient alternative views within the Programmes.”
Last month, Journalism.co.uk looked at criticisms levelled against Press TV by its UK critics. Writing in the comments, journalist Yvonne Ridley, defended her decision to work for the channel.
In July, Journalism.co.uk asked Press TV’s legal adviser, Matthew Richardson, about the Ofcom investigation. He said:
“I don’t want to prejudice the Ofcom investigation. All stations receive complaints. I await to see what the exact nature of the complaints are.
“The fact is that Press TV is regulated by Ofcom, and is therefore under the direct scrutiny of Ofcom’s Broadcasting Codes, unlike the BBC in many instances. So even if we wanted to be a dictatorial, Stalinesque propaganda station, Ofcom simply wouldn’t allow it. Also, it would be very dull.”