Jeremy Corbyn and Press TV
Allegations have again resurfaced in connection with the recent Buzzfeed article (Emily Ashton, 31 August 2016), which rehashes the same specious charges made in the Business Insider article (Adam Payne, 2 July 2016) over Jeremy's work for the Iranian-based Press TV.
Like a zombie, these specious charges refuse to die even when confronted with evidence, which is why I’ve decided to expand and re-post answers I have given here and elsewhere on the forum.
It is alleged that Jeremy "accepted up to £20,000 [...] between 2009 and 2012" for appearances on Press TV (Business Insider). As exact dates were not provided in the article, I had to search the Register of Members' Interest from the session 2008-9 onwards in order to verify the alleged payments.
I found out the following:
• Searching through the most up-to-date versions available of The Register of Members’ Interest (see link below), there are only two listed payments from Press TV in the sessions 2008-9 (version dated 11 Nov 2009) and 2009-10 (version dated 12 April 2010).
• Both payments are registered as payments “up to £5,000” in accordance with monetary banding for the Register
• NO FURTHER PAYMENTS may be found in the Register for the subsequent sessions of 2010-12 (version dated 7 May 2013); 2012-13 (version dated 7 May 2013); 2013-14 (version dated 2 June 2014); 2014-15 (version dated 30 March 2015); 2015-16 (version dated 16 May 2016)
As can be seen, the quoted figure of “£20,000” is utterly bogus. As exact figures are not provided in the Register (not at least until post-MP’s expenses scandal in April 2009), even at the most farfetched estimate used, it could only be surmised that the figure could be up to £10,000. How this figure has been doubled is a mystery!
A further factual inaccuracy in the Business Insider article concerns Ofcom’s revocation of Press TV’s broadcasting licence.
Whilst the matter was indeed brought to a head by the airing of footage from the forced confession of Newsweek journalist Maziar Bahari in the run up to the Iranian presidential election of 2009, the revocation of Press TV’s licence however concerned a breach of Ofcom’s licensing conditions – namely a UK-based licensee must have editorial control over content.
Ofcom in fact offered to work with Press TV to resolve this matter, but Press TV did not take up this offer and had their licence revoked in 2012.
Press TV coverage of the Iranian election in 2009 caused the resignation of LBC Radio’s Nick Ferrari, who had worked for the channel and conceded that until the election, the station’s coverage was “reasonably fair”.
Indeed, prior to this, the channel was widely seen as a viable platform for raising important human rights and political issues of the Middle East. Presenters ranged from the former BBC journalist Andrew Gilligan; Derek Conway, the Conservative MP who presented a book review segment for the channel; right through to Lauren Booth, sister of Cherie Blair, whose programme “Remember the Children of Palestine” featured on the channel.
It is unlikely this smear will go away. However, I share this in the hope of providing a factual rebuttal to the allegations and to provide additional context.
The Register of Members’ Interest, House of Commons Publications, available at https://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/standards-and-financial-interests/parliamentary-commissioner-for-standards/registers-of-interests/register-of-members-financial-interests/
“Iran’s Press TV loses UK licence”, The Guardian (20 January 2012) available at https://www.theguardian.com/media/2012/jan/20/iran-press-tv-loses-uk-licence
“British journalists who work for Ahmadinejad’s mouthpiece”, The Week (1 July 2009) available at http://www.theweek.co.uk/politics/21693/british-journalists-who-work-ahmadinejads-mouthpiece
[Many thanks to Thomas Li]
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