lauren booth 311.
(photo credit: courtesy)
LONDON – Britain’s media regulator ruled last week that the Iranian news channel
Press TV breached broadcasting code rules on impartiality in a program on the
Gaza flotilla incident presented by Tony Blair’s sister-in-law.
Booth, a pro-Palestinian activist and a sister of Cherie Blair, is a presenter
on Press TV’s Remember Palestine program.
In an episode that discussed
May 31’s flotilla incident, screened on June 5, The Office of Communications,
known as Ofcom, ruled that it was one-sided and failed to offer alternative
According to Ofcom, the program began with a pro-Palestinian song
and anti-Israel images, featured an array of recorded and live interviews with
similar views and included descriptions of the incident such as “barbaric” and
“Israeli commandos committed a massacre of innocent civilians
sailing aid ships to the besieged Gaza Strip... This was obviously a barbarous
attack on civilians... As Turkey buries its murdered citizens... the brave men
and women on the ships in one move have shifted world opinion against Israeli
apartheid,” Booth said during the show.
Gaza-based journalist Yousef
al-Helou said that Israel’s “piracy ended with a massacre.”
regulator said that the content “could be interpreted as being highly critical
of the actions of the Israeli government and its military forces in this
“In summary, the program accused the Israeli government of a
massacre and of breaking international law and human rights.
considered the broadcaster did not provide sufficient evidence of alternative
views within the program. Overall, the program gave a one-sided view on this
matter of political controversy,” Ofcom ruled.
Press TV called the
decision “unsound,” accused Ofcom of “lashing out” and maintained that the
program’s guests were entitled to freedom of expression.
of the descriptions in the program merely reflected the general atmosphere
around the world,” the Iranian governmentrun news channel maintained.
its ruling, Ofcom warned that their right to freedom of expression is “not
absolute” as they must also maintain due impartiality to the subjects being
The regulator deemed that contributions to the program “could
reasonably be characterized as being from a pro-Palestinian viewpoint,” meaning
that the program failed to maintain due impartiality.