Iranian-born Canadian journalist Maziar Bahari
Source: Press TV
Press TV has challenged the British media regulator's Monday ruling, reiterating the politically fabricated nature of claims that initiated the case against Iran's 24-hour English language news channel.
In a letter to the London-base Office of Communication (Ofcom), a Press TV legal advisor cited a BBC interview with the sole complainant in the case, fugitive Iranian-born journalist Maziar Bahari, just hours after the regulator passed down its controversial ruling against the Iranian network as 'newly emerged evidence' that challenges the credibility of the case.
According to the letter, Bahari made several contradictory statements during his interview with the state-funded BBC that raises serious questions about the credibility of his statements.
Bahari claimed in the interview that he was lured into submitting to a Press TV interview back in 2009 with the promise of release from jail on condition that he would “condemn Western media” and that his alternative option would be to wait six years in jail for his actual trial, after which he may face execution.
Press TV's legal challenge, however, argues that it “neither asked Mr. Bahari to condemn Western media, nor did Press TV broadcast any footage of Mr. Bahari doing so.”
In fact, the only footage that Ofcom has had (and used) for its investigation and adjudication of the case against the Iranian news channel is a ten-second clip in which Bahari says, “On Monday, 15 June , I sent a report about the attack against the base, a military base of Basij to Channel 4 News as well as to Newsweek Magazine.”
Press TV's legal advisor further argues, “Given that Mr. Bahari claims that the only way of being released from prison was for him to have condemned Western media, and that the fact that Press TV did not broadcast any condemnations by Mr. Bahari of Western media, and the fact that Mr. Bahari was released nonetheless, it begs the question as to whether any of what Mr. Bahari claims or has claimed is factually accurate.”
Among other issues raised in the legal challenge, Press TV also expressed shock and disappointment about Ofcom's violation of its own regulations in pursuing the recent case against Iran's English-language news channel.
It specifically mentions that Ofcom requires that complaints must be submitted within 20 days of a broadcast and that broadcasters are required to retain material for 60 days, not 166 days in the case brought against Press TV by a British state institution, in which Mr. Bahari served as a convenient instrument.
Press TV's legal challenge against Ofcom's biased ruling also refers to Bahari's mention of a confessed and convicted female Iranian murderer and adulteress Sakineh Ashtiani, in his BBC interview on his case against the Iranian broadcaster, emphasizing that tying the totally irrelevant issue to the Ofcom case versus Press TV, clearly indicates Mr. Bahari's subjective attitude and his eagerness to incite hatred against the network and to encourage a wave of media criticism against it.