Earlier this week, OfCom, the official United Kingdom broadcast regulating authority, censured Iran’s state-run Press TV for conducting and airing an interview with Newsweek journalist Maziar Bahari while he was being held captive and was under coercion from the Iranian government, as doing so was (unsurprisingly) against UK broadcasting rules. The Guardian reports that Bahari himself lodged the complaint, explaining that
the “interview” had been made “under duress”, after he was told by an interrogator that he was suspected of espionage and could face the death penalty unless he made a “televised statement about the role of the western media in the post-presidential election demonstrations”.
He was interviewed by three Iranian broadcasters, including Press TV, reading answers pre-prepared by his captors from a script. The footage from the “press conference” was aired in the UK by Press TV.
Press TV quickly responded to the censure – after a fashion. Their published reply opens with a quote from the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the infamous anti-semitic conspiracy tract, and then offers three paragraphs of deranged ramblings about global Jewish domination before addressing the actual OfCom charge, which – as detailed above – has absolutely nothing to do with Jews, Israel or the US at all. (Well, that’s not entirely fair, as Press TV does conclusively demonstrate that Newsweek is partly owned by Jews, which doubtless explains everything.)
Here’s a sample of the delicate, reality-inflected phrasing in Iran’s reply:
“What seems abundantly clear is that the Israeli intelligence community’s allies in the British and American governments are increasingly worried about the English-language division of Press TV/Iran, especially its US Desk.”
“It may not be a coincidence that the British Ofcom case against Press TV Iran pops up against the backdrop of Netanyahu’s state visit to the United States to press his own case for ongoing Talmudic Death and Destruction in the Middle East…”
You know, “Talmudic Death and Destruction” sounds like it could be the name of a really edgy Orthodox heavy metal band.
Indeed, this would all be quite funny if it wasn’t coming from the state-run television of a country that is now confirmed to be building nuclear weapons, denies the Holocaust and has expressed the repeated desire to eliminate Israel (metaphorically, no doubt – after all, do these sound like the sort of people who would try to blow up the Jewish state?).
I think we’re starting to get an inkling of why diplomatic engagement with these folks failed.
(h/t Eli Lake)