13 April 2012- In a report published today, the human rights group Justice for Iran (JFI) accused Iran’s government-owned Press TV of televising confession obtained by force form political prisoners and called on Germany to ban the channel.
The report entitled Cut! Take Press TV Off the Air is being submitted to Germany’s Commission for Licensing and Supervision (ZAK) in advance of a 24 April meeting to review Press TV’s case file. JFI is calling on the Commission to ban Press TV broadcasts on all German-owned satellites. Cut! Take Press TV Off the Air condemns Press TV’s practice of airing interviews with political prisoners saying that they are “confessions extracted under torture,” and are broadcast without the detainee’s consent. Citing interviews with former political prisoners the report paints a grim picture of how prisoners are compelled to “confess” and instructed on what they are expected to say.
Justice for Iran accuses Press TV of collaborating with the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence. Both organisations and many named officials are subject to sanctions by western governments including the US and EU. According to the report, interrogators were present during interviews conducted by Press TV — at times even standing in as a Press TV reporter and conducting the interview themselves.
Press TV’s televised “interviews” with political prisoners violate Iranian law, which prohibits media outlets form publishing the names and images of those who stand accused of crimes. Most former political prisoners, however, remain too fearful to take action against Press TV. According to the report, such Press TV broadcasts violate European laws governing the media, such as those ensuring the principle of independence and neutrality, principle of respect for privacy, principle of respect for human dignity and the right to reply.
In January 2012, Britain’s communications regulator Ofcom revoked Press TV license to broadcast in the UK after the channel refused to pay penalties resulting from complaint filed by Iranian-Canadian journalist, Maziar Bahari. Mr Bahari was forced to “confess” to a Press TV camera while he was being held prisoner in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison. OFCOM also stated that it was revoking the channel’s license because Press TV’s content undergoes quality control in Tehran On April 3, 2012, Munich’s media regulatory office (BLM) announced that it was banning Press TV broadcasts from SES Astra. Nevertheless, Press TV continues to broadcast globally on 14 satellites.
Justice for Iran, as a human rights organisation, defends freedom of speech and freedom of the press. However, we believe that any media organisation acting at the service of torturing and suppressing the citizens is not a media organisation any more. Hence, JFI welcomes the decisions of Ofcom and BLM and calls on all other relevant authorities – in particular the governments of France, Spain, Luxembourg, and Australia — to ban Press TV broadcasts on Satellite systems under their jurisdiction. JFI also calls on governments to hold Press TV and its’ officials including the Channel’s CEO Mohammad Sarafraz responsible for human rights violations.
Read the complete text of “Cut! Take Press TV Off the Air”.