A London-based Iranian TV news outlet aired an interview with a spokesperson that justified and “welcomed” a Sept. 2018 terrorist attack in Ahvaz, Iran that killed 29. But, that didn’t break UK broadcasting guidelines, the UK broadcast regulator OfCom ruled.
Iran International’s Sept. 2018 news program featured an interview with the spokesperson for the Al-Ahvaziyeh (Al-Ahvaz) Movement, in which the spokesperson said the group was fine with the terrorist attack, which ISIS later claimed responsibility for. Iran International’s host said the spokesperson “supported this attack.”
Four people complained about the report, OfCom reported.
However, Iran International argued it was important to report on the views of the group and that the network challenged the spokesperson’s comments. The channel also said its head of news and current affairs contextualized the attack and reported on the reaction to it.
OfCom ruled that it’s in the public interest to report on terrorist groups but that broadcasters have to contextualize and challenge any “highly controversial views” they broadcast.
OfCom concluded the spokesperson’s comments were “an unambiguous endorsement of the attack” and potentially “highly offensive.” However, since the attack was newsworthy to its audience, airing the interview was “a legitimate topic for discussion.” Further, OfCom noted that Iran International” clearly challenged” the spokesperson and highlighted the civilian deaths and injuries as well as criticism of the attack.
“We considered that there was sufficiently strong context to justify the potentially high level of offence that could have been caused by the broadcast of Ya’ghub Hor al-Tostari’s statements supporting the attack,” OfCom ruled. “Ofcom’s Decision is therefore that generally accepted standards had been applied to the content in this case to provide adequate protection for viewers, and the potentially offensive material broadcast was justified by the context.”
iMediaEthics has written to Iran International for more information and its response to the ruling.
Hat Tip: Guardian