Ofcom Investigates Press TV Complicity in Journo’s ImprisonmentJune 10, 2010 12:22 by BackSpin Editor
Maziar Bahari, the Newsweek journalist imprisoned while Iran's post-election unrest, accuses Press TV of complicity in his imprisonment. And Ofcom's, the UK press complaints watchdog, is investigating. Roy Greenslade explains:
The regulator has launched a formal investigation into the complaint by Maziar Bahari, the Newsweek journalist who spent 118 days in a Tehran jail after being arrested while covering the protests over the disputed presidential election last June.
I understand that Ofcom is now awaiting a response from Press TV to a series of questions about its screening of an excerpt from an interview with Bahari that occurred while he was in jail.
The Independent quotes from an interview with Bahari — to be aired on Channel 4 tonight – elaborating on how Press TV tried to extract a "confession."
'I was somewhat surprised because I thought Press TV would at least pretend to have some credibility and wouldn't come and interview a prisoner in an interrogation room when I was under duress.'
Mr Bahari says he was tortured and then forced to make his confession on television, under threat of execution. He describes how he sat inside a room in the prison, before three cameras, and responded to questions suggested by a government interrogator, who stood behind a red curtain. He says he kept his blindfold on his knee, in full view, so it should have been clear that he was under duress.
Press TV then broadcast the confession, as though it was a legitimate interview, and Mr Bahari a willing guest; the presenter even suggested Mr Bahari might have participated in the protests.
Last year, Press TV coverage claimed Detained Newsweek Reporter Talks.