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May 5, 2008

Wikipedia: Press TV

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Press TV
Launched 2007
Owned by IRIB
Website www.presstv.ir
Availability
Satellite
Optus D2
Pacific Rim
12706 / 22500 / 3/4 V
AsiaSat 3S
South Asia
12352 / 30000 / 3/4 V
AsiaSat 2
South Asia
3660 / 27500 / 3/4 V
Intelsat 10
Africa & Europe
12682 / 26657 / 1/2 H
Intelsat 902
Middle East
11555 / 27500 / 3/4 V
Arabsat 2B
Middle East
12644 / 3000 / 3/4 H
Badr C
Middle East
3880 / 27500 / 3/4 R(H)
Badr 4
Middle East
12054 / 27500 3/4 V
Hot Bird 8
Europe
12437 / 27500 / 3/4 H
Hispasat 1C
Latin America
12172 / 27500 / 3/4 H
Galaxy 25
North America
12053 / 22000 / 3/4 V
Internet Television
Press TV [1] (free Windows Media stream)
VDC Channel 206

Press TV is an English language international television news channel which is funded by the Iranian government, based in Tehran and broadcasts in English on a round-the-clock schedule. With 26 international correspondents and more than 400 staff around the world, its stated mission is to offer a different view of the world events.[1][2]

Contents

History

The channel’s website launched in late January 2007.[3] Test satellite transmissions were conducted in late April 2007. The launch date for the channel was July 2, 2007.[4]

Vision

Press TV intends to give a different view of the news than the Anglophone BBC World, and CNN International. Press TV wants to put more emphasis on debate, dialogue and the role of cultural difference. It will also be competing with the recently launched Al Jazeera English, France 24 and Russia Today news channels. [5]

Press TV has three mission statements; to break the global media stranglehold of western outlets, to bridge cultural divisions pragmatically, and to highlight the versatility and vitality of political and cultural differences, making up the human condition.

The policy makers of Press TV believe that since the 9/11 attacks, the world’s media had divided into two camps: On the one side was the perspective offered by Western media, while the other side was pro-Taleban, pro-Saddam and pro-al-Qaeda. The stated mission of Press TV is to offer a different view, unlike Al-Jazeera and western media (such as BBC and CNN).[1][6]

Funding and independence

Press TV is funded by the Iranian government.[7] According to Shahab Mossavat, Press TV director of communications, Press TV will keep its editorial independence from the government. In an interview with NPR (National Public Radio), he emphasized that Press TV will be state-funded rather than state controlled.[8] Another of Press TV’s journalists, Mark Levine, former host of “The American Dream,” once stated that he was not being censored and would “explain American policies worldwide” with “the same uncompromising candor” that he has done on his radio show, “The Inside Scoop”, for the last four years. [9] [10]. However, soon after Levine attempted to do a show on the Iranian President, he was replaced as host of the PressTV show. [11]

Critics note that Iran has a poor record for freedom of speech. For example, as Press TV went on the air in early July 2007, Iran shut down several news outlets critical of the government.[12] Press TV seldom criticizes the Iranian government and has provided little coverage of Iran’s domestic troubles, but some commentators have been surprised by relatively neutral reporting on Iraq and the Middle East.[13] Press TV is praised for letting guests speak their mind, but commentators have criticized the network for presenting dubious reports and analysis with no evidence to back them up.[12][14]

The annual budget of Press TV is 250 billion Rials (more than 27 million US dollars).[15]

Propaganda warfare in Somalia

The Iran state funded news agency, Press TV[16], has been accused of spreading propaganda by Ethiopians, using the term “intentional errors” to describe reporting on several issues from a pro-Insurgent point of view, a claim taken up by many media organizations in the west.[17][18] [19]

Press TV has been one of the few news outlets to report on the ongoing fighting between Ethiopian and Insurgent fighting in Somalia, and pinning the blame of the resulting civilian casualties squarely on Ethiopia. Most news organizations have avoided pointing the finger at Ethiopian forces, instead choosing to either spread the blame across all parties or, especially in the west and Ethiopia, blame the insurgency.[20][21].

Press TV was the only major news outlet to carry the story of General Gabre Heard’s now-infamous slapping of Somali president Abdullahi Yusuf, a charge still denied by the Ethiopians. [22] In other cases, Iran’s Press TV reported false news and exaggerations including multiplying the casualties from the battles. For instance in March 21-22, the various attacks on government vehicles killed a “total of four soldiers” according to a Somali media,[23] in contrast, the attacks left “at least 26 Ethiopian dead and 38 more injured” according to Press TV. [24]

The Iranian media’s Somali reporters are widely believed to be Shabelle Media Network reporters whose license was revoked years ago by the Somalia government after the government accused them of reporting extreme bias in favor of the insurgents and the insurgent leadership based in Asmara, Eritrea.[25] Often reporting personal opinion in favor of the insurgency, the reporters did the same using Press TV. Another case cited is Press TV’s use of the word “Woyane” to label the Ethiopian government.[26] Outside Ethiopia, this label is used only by Ethiopia’s arch-enemy, the Eritrean government, until Press TV began in 2008.

Iran was one of the few countries that the UN Security council accused of arming and supporting that Islamic Courts Union group that threatened jihad on Ethiopia. During the Eritrea-Ethiopia war in 2000, Iran was one of the countries who sided with Eritrea and gave funds for its war against Ethiopia.

In addition to its Somalia coverage, Press TV has also fabricated various stories about Ethiopia’s southeastern Ogaden region that has seen violence since the 2007 violent attacks by the Ogaden National Liberation Front insurgents. After Somalia arrested and extradited members of the ONLF in May 2008, Press TV made up stories that civilians were extradited instead. In its latest practice of propaganda, the Press TV article went as far as coping a BBC picture from the 2005 post election violence in Addis Ababa [27] and re-labeling it as a picture of an Ogaden refugee outside of Ethiopia. [28] [29]

Journalists

Mohammad Sarafraz, head of the new channel, said most of Press TV’s 30 journalists were non-Iranians, and included many Britons as well as Americans. The channel will have correspondents in London, New York, Washington, Beirut, Damascus, Moscow and several other European capitals, as well as five correspondents covering the Israel-Palestine conflict from Gaza, Ramallah and Jerusalem. Mr Sarafraz said training had been provided by a BBC employee.

The most well-known face at the London bureau, based in Ealing, is Yvonne Ridley, the former Sunday Express journalist who converted to Islam after being captured by the Taliban in 2001.[14]

New to Press TV, the Baghdad correspndent is Canadian journalist Amanda Lindhout. She’s quickly gaining credibility as one of the few foreign media persons working in Iraq’s “red zone”.

Programs

  • Fine Print- A thrice-weekly analysis of on-line mainstream media hosted by Amir Arfa. A 45-minute scrutiny of news through alternative eyes.
  • The Agenda – A political commentary show hosted by Yvonne Ridley formerly broadcast on the Islam Channel.[14]
  • The American Dream – A news commentary program formerly hosted in the United States by Mark Levine.[9]
  • Between the Headlines – A review of the day’s headlines hosted in the United Kingdom by Mark Watts.
  • Four Corners – A news commentary program.
  • Iran – A 25-minute weekly show by Behrouz Nadjafi which tries to cover all aspects of life and topical issues in Iran plus reports and interviews on major events held in the country over the week.
  • Epilogue – A 25-minute weekly during which Martin Short introduces controversial literature while interviewing well-known writers & critics.
  • World Week Watch – Journalist Sertan Baykara tells you everything you need to know of events from every nook and cranny of the globe in 23 minutes.
  • Middle East Today – A riveting daily panel discussion of the world’s most news-making region broadcast from Beirut, Damascus, London, and Tehran.
  • Minbar – A weekly Q&A about Islam, fielding questions about all aspects of the world’s fastest growing religion presented by Ahmad Haneef.
  • Forum – Presented by journalist Andrew Gilligan. At the heart of the show is the audience driving the debate with own mix of questions.
  • Reporters File – Reporter’s file covers the foremost stories, which have happened all over the world, a program which is hosted by Susan Modaress.
  • Nexus – Rebecca Masterton and guests from various faiths tackle a wide range of challenging issues in an interfaith dialogue program.
  • The Real Deal – Weekly television show by George Galloway, the British member of parliament.
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