Press TV and censorship

By Stephen Pollard
July 2, 2009

It's heartening that Press TV is, at last, getting the scrutiny it deserves. The propaganda arm of the Iranian government is being invesigated by OFCOM, Newsnight had a discussion last night with its MD and Martin Bright (which was, one has to say, embarassing given how awful the MD was) and presenters and commentators such as Nick Ferrari are leaving the station after it's reprehensible coverage of the Iranian elections.

(BTW, here's my JC column last week on how TfL is happy to take Press TV's money despite knowing where it comes from and what it funds.)

But I have to say that whilst I think the station should, as Martin put it on Newsnight, be left to wither and die in the mire of its own absurdity, I don't think it should be banned. I do not think it the business of the state, in the guise of OFCOM, to deternine who can voice their opinions and what they should be allowed to say.

It's one thing to expose Press TV for what it is and to pillory anyone who takes it shilling; it's quite another to demand the end of free speech. Freedom of speech includes, at its heart, the right to utter nonsense.



Sat, 07/04/2009 - 15:58

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Mr. Pollard -

Upon reading your response to the comments made by F1 Chief Ecclestone, I felt compelled to write to you.

If you recall, Ecclestone - during an interview made several references to some of the most dynamic yet tyrannical figures in World History - namely Saddam Hussain and of course - Hitler.

I suspect, kind Sir, that his words were - to no surprise given the fact that no one is either entitled to opinion without the printed press or digital media hanging on every single word - taken out of context.

From my understanding, he was clearly condemning the acts committed by Hitlet yet drew an observation based on his ability to charismatically convince and lead a group of people to subscribe to Hitler's vision - That Sir, is what he was referring to.

A true historian would - without bias - research and attempt to understand what influenced these figures to commit these atrocities. It speaks to their level of, albeit twisted, sense of leadership.

Our responsibility, as writers, as citizens of this world is to look beyond the words and actually listen to what is being said - not choose what we think we hear.

Maybe this is where the misunderstanding may have occured in your response to his comments.

I wonder what kind of world this would be if every individual would just listen and not just hear.


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