Press TV controversies
Press TV has been the subject of several controversies. The station has been criticised for its uncritical embrace of provocative stances. For British journalist Nick Cohen the station is "a platform for the full fascist conspiracy theory of supernatural Jewish power" and for commentator Douglas Murray it is the "Iranian government’s propaganda channel".
Responding to Cohen and others, George Galloway, the British MP and Press TV's best-known UK presenter, has said it "challenges the prevailing orthodoxy" by providing an outsider perspective on "the truth and a voice for the otherwise voiceless". 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."
- 1 Controversy
- 2 Ron Paul and American Conservatives Against Iran war
- 3 Allegations and Statements about Canada
- 4 Suppression
- 5 Staff incidents
- 6 See also
- 7 References
Alleged propaganda aims
Press TV's news bulletins often feature Iranian ministers, diplomats or government officials, or guest commentators that are able to express views consistent with the Iranian government's "message of the day." Opposition political figures such as Mir-Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi have not appeared on Press TV since the June 2009 presidential election.
Allegations of bias and error
Press TV has been criticized for brazenly promoting Iran's line overseas, often at the expense of the truth. In a post-election "information offensive," reports the Associated Press, Press TV and Al-Alam have "churned out a blitz of policy statements, negotiating points and news breaks as the main soapboxes for Iran's public diplomacy."
In 2007, the Canadian weekly Maclean's, while noting that "most of Press TV's news reports are factually accurate," alleged that Press TV also publishes "intentional errors," citing a story on the Press TV website that contained the claim, based on "no evidence," that the Lebanese government is trying to convert the Nahr al-Bared Palestinian refugee camp into an American military base. "
In July 2009, Dominic Lawson, a columnist for the Sunday Times of London, criticized Press TV for broadcasting the "confession" of Canadian-Iranian journalist Maziar Bahari "without a scintilla of skepticism." He also criticized British journalists and politicians for appearing on Press TV and for giving a forum to Holocaust deniers. Lawson said they are "being paid to lend credibility to the propaganda arm of a regime that subjects its own journalists to the most brutal 'political interference.'"
Rania Masri, who was featured together with Paul Craig Roberts  and Danny Schechter on a Press TV show marking the eighth anniversary of 9/11, commented on her blog, “Danny Schechter is right: even such a limited conversation, as was had on Press TV, cannot be heard on mainstream/corporate US press.”
On December 27, 2007, Press TV reported that demonstrators in Iran marched through the streets of Tehran carrying signs (in English!) saying "I Love Jews," citing this as evidence that there is no anti-Semitism in Iran. "The People's Cube" website, source of this spoof that Press TV reported as news, had this explanation for why Press TV was taken in by such an obvious prank: "You have been lying for so long that you lost the ability to distinguish between truth and fiction."
Allegations of antisemitism
The Jerusalem Post, together with outlets such as the British Searchlight magazine, have criticized Press TV for publishing, on its official website, an article The Walls of Auschwitz: A Review of the Chemical Studies claiming that the Auschwitz gas chambers were used for "benign" purposes only; the article was written by the British science historian, Holocaust denier and conspiracy theorist Nicholas Kollerstrom.
It has been accused of promoting of Holocaust denial. On the subject of International Holocaust Remembrance Day (January 27), an editorial on the Press TV website noted, "On this anniversary, we all need to mull over the faking of history and the Greatest Lie Ever Told." The station has been criticized for giving a platform to conspiracy theorists and radical political activists.
In a September 15, 2009 article entitled "Incendiary Press Reporting," Moroccan journalist Hassan Masiky criticized Press TV for trafficking in "fiction and fantasy" by circulating a suspect story about "an alleged Jewish gang trading in “body parts” and abduction of Algerian children towards Morocco."
By 2010, PressTV aired eight interviews with Paul Sheldon Foote on Israel and Mid-East topics. Foote has been an open advocate of Holocaust deniers and open antisemites such as David Duke and Michael A. Hoffman II. Foote also wrote that "Crypto-Jews" have initiated a war between Christians and Muslims.
In a May 2011 article, correspondent Mark Dankof, who is also a contributor to the conspiracy oriented American Free Press, wrote an article about how the antisemitic Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion accurately reflect the state of the world, lauding PressTV as one of the few exceptions to the Jewish control of the media.
On June 26, 2012, Press TV hosted a panel discussion that included Joachim Martillo, who was presented on the show as a financial analyst. During the panel discussion, which was later posted in toto on the Press TV website, Martillo stated that Jewish social and business networks were important in creating conditions for the 2008 Financial crisis. Martillo stated that "I have worked in Wall Street ... I am always asked whether I am Jewish, so I can take part in the social networks on Wall Street, and whether I can share insider info and help protect other people, and basically exchange critical information that could be extremely valuable." He further stated that "We have these vast, essentially ethnic networks on Wall Street. They have been there for a long time. People have written articles about them, but we are not allowed to talk about them ... So we have to start looking at the ethnic manipulation, the corruption, and conspiracy on Wall Street in a serious way."
In October 2012, the Anti-Defamation League issued a report detailing examples of pernicious anti-Semitic conspiracy theories broadcast as legitimate news on Press TV. 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.
In November 2013, the ADL said that Press TV had returned to this theme, citing an article on the station's website claiming not only that Jews are to blame for the Holocaust, but also that because Jews did not learn from their supposed wrongs in Nazi Germany that “American Zionists” are “incubating another Hitler.” The article, written by Press TV columnist M.I. Bhat, also alleges that “American Zionists” control America’s “banks, Wall Street, media, Hollywood, markets, politicians, foreign policy, indeed the whole life of Americans,” and asserts that the 9/11 terrorist attacks were a “false flag” attack committed by “American Zionist Jews and Israel” to further their control of American foreign policy.
Ron Paul and American Conservatives Against Iran war
Press TV contributor Mark Dankof complained about an article "penned by Zionist sock puppet Kenneth R. Timmerman in the ironically named Accuracy in Media (AIM)". Dankof believes that the piece, entitled “Tehran TV Loves Ron Paul” was an attack directed against Press TV and Iran. It was also an attack against candidate Ron Paul and American conservatives such as Philip Giraldi, Paul Craig Roberts, Paul Sheldon Foote, and Mark Glenn who gave appearances on the state-controlled network to oppose "an Israeli-provoked American war with that country."
Allegations and Statements about Canada
Following the severing of diplomatic relations between Canada and Iran in 2012, Press TV began to focus more on Canada.
In December 2012, Press TV aired a report entitled "Alberta takes aboriginal kids from parents at high rate" in which Joshua Blakeney, Press TV’s Calgary correspondent, claimed that Alberta's child protective services were engaged in the human trafficking of First Nations children. Blakeney stated that “Some upset parents allege that there is a profit motive behind what they refer to as Canada’s so-called child protective services” and asserted that an anti-terrorism squad, called INSET, was responsible for the abductions.
One of the veiled women interviewed in the report (who was not identified) claimed that her “aboriginal children” were taken by a squad of 32 police officers." Another woman interviewed stated that “It definitely is a money-making scheme, because a lot of native children have been sold into adoption, but it is also used as an assimilation program [and] a genocidal program.” The report also showed written messages of “Help me! Now!!”, which were allegedly written by abducted children.
The allegations in the report were immediately denied by Government officials and Native leaders. Cindy Blackstock, an associate professor at the University of Alberta and executive director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada denied the report was true, stating that "The factors driving aboriginal children into care have been well-known for 15 years; it’s poverty, poor housing and substance abuse...The federal government provides significantly less funding on reserves than for all other Canadians … but I have never in my life heard of any military undertones to this.”
Blakeney has also claimed in reports published or broadcast by Press TV, that the appearance of Canada's new $20 bill was evidence that Canada “remained an imperialist nation” and that "90% of Canadian youth felt stressed about careers." Blakeney subsequently claimed that his reports for Press TV are “defiantly illuminating the skeletons in Canada’s closet.”
In another report, reporter Ali Dashti made several charges against the Canadian government, including:
- Secret plans to “steal indigenous children”;
- “Ignorance of the First Nation land rights”;
- Jailing refugees without cause; and
- using excessive force to suppress student protests.”
Another program interviewed Alfred Lambremont Webre, who was described as an “international lawyer” based in Vancouver. Webre stated Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is an “out and out Zionist” who is engaging in the “same repressive policies within Canada that Israel follows within its own territories against the Palestinian people.” Webre then described a conspiracy between Vancouver police and serial killer Robert Pickton "to commit ritual Satanic murders with high-ranking politicians." Finally, Webre claimed that the Queen of England abducted 10 Aboriginal children in 1964. Concluding his comments, Webre described Canada as “the ultimate Zionist state under the British Crown and under Israel.”
Paul Heinbecker, a former Canadian ambassador to the United Nations and a distinguished fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation at the University of Waterloo, has stated that Press TV is highlighting Canada's First Nations in order to “negate” Canadian reports of human rights allegations against Iran. Heinbecker stated that “The human rights situations in the two countries are scarcely comparable … but our own very real shortcomings on Aboriginal issues … are fodder for the Iranian efforts.”
Ed Corrigan, an immigration lawyer and former councillor for London, Ontario, is a regular guest on Press TV. Corrigan, who has boasted that "There’s very few people in Canada who have more expertise on Middle East politics than I do,” argues that Press TV is demonstrating the “international opinion” of Canada's treatment of its native peoples, explaining that “We tend to forget about our conquest of North America … but most countries in the world see it as a colonial exercise.”
Canadian journalist Eric Walberg, who has claimed that the 2011 Norway attacks were actually an Israeli plot “complete with rabbinical blessings for the murderers,” has defended Press TV's coverage of Canada, stating that "Iran media is merely following the news...Don’t look for conspiracies where there are none.”
In 2010, the Jammu and Kashmir government banned Press TV for airing video on the 2010 Qur'an-burning controversy saying "We have decided to impose a ban on the airing of Press TV broadcasts by local cable operators. We appeal to the people not to heed unverified reports about the alleged desecration of the Holy Koran which have only been aired by Press TV and no other television news channel in the world."
Journalist Mark Levine says that he was promised editorial control of his show, "The American Dream". However, in September 2007, when Levine decided to broadcast a show on Ahmadinejad's UN visit that included noted Persian scholars who had expressed criticism of Ahmadinejad, he alleges that he was blocked from doing the program at the last minute: "One hour before the show was scheduled to air live, the show was cancelled with no explanation given. I was later told that Press TV would not allow me to discuss the topic." Shortly after that, Levine was fired from his job. Levine alleged that anti-Semitism also may have played a role in his firing: "I also believed my being Jewish may have played a role in the firing, given the shock, surprise, and horror manifested by the producer who hired me when she discovered my religious faith."
Press TV Afghanistan correspondent Fayez Khurshid alleged on Press TV in October 2007 that he was threatened by some armed men in Kabul.
Amanda Lindhout, a Canadian free-lance reporter who had worked for Press TV as a correspondent in Baghdad, was kidnapped in Somalia on August 23, 2008. Upon payment of ransom allegedly in the amount of $600,000, Ms. Lindhout was safely released in November 2009.
George Galloway's broadcasts on Press TV have been criticized by British broadcast authority Ofcom for "breaching impartiality rules." In its report, Ofcom cited complaints about Galloway's January 2009 programs on Gaza alleging that Galloway's broadcasts "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." In a 2008 episode of The Real Deal, Galloway took on David Henshaw over his documentary "Undercover Mosque," in which British Muslims expressed the intention "to kill homosexuals and apostates". Galloway defended their right to make such threats on grounds of religious freedom.[not in citation given]. Galloway compared the threat to stone homosexuals and apostates to passages in the Old Testament and accused Henshaw of bias in not making the comparison. Henshaw defended his production as having covered present day statements by a Muslim preacher and challenged Galloway to cite a similar statement by a "vicar or rabbi." 
Nick Ferrari, a leading British radio presenter, quit his show on Press TV on 30 June 2009, following the response of the country's authorities to protests over the disputed Iranian presidential election. Ferrari told The Times that Press TV’s news coverage had been “reasonably fair” until the election — but not any longer.
In August 2009, Tariq Ramadan, host of "Islam and Life" on Press TV, was terminated from his position as a guest lecturer at Erasmus University Rotterdam, after the university’s board decided that his “indirect relationship with a repressive regime” was unacceptable. Ramadan, who also holds a position at the University of Oxford, is considering legal action against the university.
Shahab Mossavat, a former CNN International anchor, hosted news updates and "4 Corners" (a daily roundtable discussion of international events) on Press TV. Mossavat was one of the most articulate and recognizable faces on the network, and served as Press TV's spokesman beginning in 2007. His program was cancelled shortly before the 2009 Presidential election, and Mr. Mossavat was arrested the day after the election for alleged participation in demonstrations protesting election fraud. In an August 28, 2009 interview on Public Radio International, Mr. Mossavat, who now lives in London, spoke about his experiences in detention: "I saw many people maltreated – brutally treated – tortured physically, psychologically. I didn’t see any sexual abuse but I did certainly see physical abuse. I saw people whose noses had been smashed so much so that they were flattened into their faces."
In September 2009, it was revealed in an article in The Times that Hassan Abdulrahman, born David Theodore Belfield, one of the chief editors of the Press TV website from the beginning of Press TV's news department, is a fugitive wanted in the United States. Abdulrahman, who has also used the alias Dawud Salahuddin, is wanted by the FBI for shooting dead at point-blank range Ali Akbar Tabatabai, a former press attache at the pre-revolutionary Iranian embassy in Washington. The Iranian government provided money and airfare to Tehran to Mr. Belfield after he committed the murder. The Times also reported Abdulrahman's claim that he left as chief online editor in July 2009 after the election in protest at Press TV's skewed coverage of that event. The Times quoted Abdulrahman as saying, “No, I don’t think Press TV is about [real journalism]. By its nature, state journalism is not journalism. They have some programmes on there that might be, but generally it’s not.”
An editorial in The Spectator criticized Conway's decision to join Press TV, asking the rhetorical question, "What on earth possesses someone like Derek Conway to hook up with an outfit like Press TV?" and criticized the network for giving voice to Holocaust denier Nicholas Kollerstrom and the former Middle East Chief Correspondent for ITN Alan Hart. An article in The Jewish Chronicle by its editor Stephen Pollard showed an exchange between himself and Conway, in which the former MP invited Pollard to appear on his show. Pollard rejecting the invitation. Prior to his employment at Press TV, former MP Conway had the whip withdrawn by the Conservatives for employing his son (a full-time student) as a political researcher.
- Al Jazeera controversies and criticism
- BBC controversies
- CNN controversies
- Fox News Channel controversies
- Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting conspiracy theories
- Nick Cohen "Who will rid us of hate channels such as Press TV?", The Observer, 4 December 2011
- Douglas Murray "Push off now, Press TV, and take your conspiracy theories with you", The Spectator (blog), 20 January 2012
- "Ofcom will not silence Press TV", transcript of an interview with George Galloway, Press TV, 8 December 2011
- Mehdi Hasan "Book me a slot on Press TV", New Statesman (blog), 16 July 2009
- Plunkett, John (2 December 2009). "Press TV can say it tells the full story, rules ad watchdog". The Guardian (London).
- Khorsandi, Peyvand (19 August 2010). Evening Standard http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23868791-stop-iran-broadcasting-propaganda-from-ealing.do
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- Dickey, Christopher (18 July 2009). "Press TV: Iran's Intelligence Minister on the Alleged Election Conspiracy: Inte'l Minister details Iran election dossier". The Shadowland Journal. Retrieved 29 December 2009.
- Press TV (March 1, 2009). "Interview with Norman G. Finkelstein: The First Goal of Israel Is to Restore the Fear of Israel in the Arab World". Monthly Review. Retrieved 12 January 2013.
- "Iran Terms IAEA Resolution "Politically Motivated"". Fars News Agency. 28 November 2009. Retrieved 29 December 2009.
- http://www.presstv.com/classic/detail.aspx?id=112321§ionid=3510302[dead link]
- "Iran Trying to Wage Media Battle Against US". Voice of America. 16 November 2009. Retrieved 29 December 2009.
- http://web.archive.org/web/20120302201216/http://skepticaltheurgist.blogharbor.com/blog/_archives/2007/11/27/3378876.html Press TV] by skeptical theurgist on Tue 27 Nov 2007
- Iran: Not the most reliable source | Macleans.ca - World - Global
- Lawson, Dominic (5 July 2009). "Irans British stooges are staring right at you". The Times (London). Retrieved 22 May 2010.
- Galloway TV shows 'broke rules'
- 911 and the Evidence VDare.com. March 26, 2007. Retrieved August 2, 2012.
- "Censured: Galloway & Press TV". HonestReportingUK. 3 August 2009. Retrieved 29 December 2009.
- Iranian website promotes Holocaust denial
-  The apologist for terror and the BBC by David Williams, July 2008.
- Jerusalem Post May 2008 http://www.jpost.com/LandedPages/PrintArticle.aspx?id=102306 May 2008
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- "Anti-Semitism - US: 9/11 Anti-Semitic Conspiracy Theories Still Abound", Anti-Defamation League, 7 September 2006
- Intelligence Files: Willis Carto. Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved November 1, 2011
- ‘Wall Street is America’s arch foe, not Damascus’, Press TV Tue Jun 26, 2012 10:9AM GMT.
- "Iran's Press TV: Broadcasting Anti-Semitism To English-Speaking World". Anti-Defamation League. Retrieved 13 November 2013.
- "Iran’s Press TV Claims American Jews Are “Incubating Another Hitler”". Access ADL. 13 November 2013. Retrieved 13 November 2013.
- Posts Tagged ‘Accuracy in Media’s “Tehran TV Loves Ron Paul”’ Mark Dankof to Howard Phillips: A Violation of the 8th Commandment Requires a Public Apology
- Iranian media report claims Alberta police abduct, traffic Aboriginal children for profit by Tristin Hopper, National Post, December 11, 2012.
- Alberta takes aboriginal kids from parents at high rate, Press TV, December 10, 2012.
- Parents dispute removal of Canadian aboriginal children, Press TV, December 10, 2012.
- Why Are Aboriginal Children Being Removed From Canadian Parents at an ‘Alarming’ Rate? by Liz Klimas, The Blaze, December 11, 2012.
- Lack of fact doesn't stop journalist claiming Alberta government sells Native children by Michael Platt, Calgary Sun, December 13, 2012.
- [Conspiracy theorist and Iranian-sponsored journalist takes aim at Alberta] by Ian Campbell, 660News Radio (Calgary) December 13, 2012.
- Canada and its ‘out and out Zionist’ prime minister have become the latest target of Iran’s Press TV by Tristin Hopper, National Post, January 18, 2013.
- Canadian politicians involved in Aboriginal women killings: Alfred Lambremont Webre, Press TV, December 20, 2012.
- Austen, Ian (30 November 2009). "For Novice Journalists, Rising Risks in Conflict Zones". The New York Times. Retrieved 22 May 2010.
- Presenter Nick Ferrari quits Iran Press TV over ‘bias’ after election, The Times, 1 July 2009
- Kerbaj, Richard (4 September 2009). "Top Tehran TV journalist wanted by FBI for 1980 murder in the US". The Times (London). Retrieved 22 May 2010.
- Mackey, Robert (16 September 2009). "Just Another American Hit Man, Actor and Journalist Living in Iran". The New York Times. Retrieved 22 May 2010.
- Korski, Daniel. "Conway of Tehran". The Spectator.
- Pollard, Stephen (03-11-09). "Derek Conway and Press TV". The Jewish Chronicle.