Britain hit for illegal act on Press TV

January 2, 2011

A top official at the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting organization has slammed blocking of Press TV bank accounts in Britain as illegal.

“Banks cannot block the accounts of the media which operate within the regulations of the host country without a reason,” head of the IRIB World Service Mohammad Sarafraz told the Islamic Republic of Iran News Agency (IRNA).
Sarafraz who also heads Press TV news channel said Press TV Ltd. in London is a company, which is registered according to Britain's law and operates within that framework.
Sarafraz said the London-based Press TV Ltd. “is not directly affiliated with” Press TV news channel based in the Iranian capital of Tehran.
The limited company is a British entity that provides service as an independent company to the Press TV news channel.
“Western countries especially Britain advance their illegal aims through economic and banking levers and they have so far closed some of the Press TV's accounts in different banks,” he further explained.
Sarafraz added British bank managers have never issued an official response as to why they have blocked the accounts only suggesting that they have been “under pressure by those in the positions of authority”.
This is while many observers believe other parties including the Zionist lobby within the British mainstream media are also helping that pressure waging an allout tarring campaign on Press TV news channel in general and Press TV Ltd. in particular.
Such attempts to restrict Press TV is not limited to domestic presssure in Britain.
Press TV was internationally hailed for its coverage of the Israeli-waged war on Gaza during the December 2008 to Janaury 2009 period yet the British media regulator OfCom issued two rulings against the news outlet which claiming its two programs which focused on the Gaza War breached impartiality regulations.
British officials have also tried to block Press TV from broadcasting through pressuring satellite operators especially French companies.
The wave of pressure on Press TV in London comes as a surprise as the news channle has never faced a similar situation in Beirut, Washington, Kabul, Berlin, Baghdad and Arbil where it also operates.
Analysts say the pressure exerted on Press TV in Britain runs against the country's claim to freedom of speech and is politically motivated while some believe British authorities are even recruiting gangs to disrupt the oeration of PressTV limited services for the News channel.
Recently the team of Presstv reporter Hasan ghani were attacked by the members of an unidentified mob during London tuition fee protests during which the team's cameraman Adam Apostol was knocked to the ground and had his camera broken.
“The incident took place within the sight of police and probably police security system had recruited the attackers who had covered their face,” Sarafraz said.
Meanwhile whistle blower website WikiLeaks has recently released documents from secret U.S. Department of State cables which show Britain Foreign Office told the U.S. embassy in London back in February that it is “exploring ways to limit the operations of… Press TV”.
The disclosures, according to Sarafraz, seemed to be “connected” to the bank accounts closures by the British government.
Sarafraz also dismissed any link between the anti-Iranian sanctions and the closure of bank accounts.
“A few days ago the Guardian daily reported in case of new sanctions on Iran, Press TV operations in Britain will be stopped. Such matters are not related to each other and are only aimed at preventing Iran's media operations,” Sarafraz said.
(Source: Press TV)