Press Release by Campaign Iran (CASMII)
The BBC and Ofcom, the regulator for the UK communications industries, will investigate alleged bias by the BBC following a large number of complaints received following a panel discussion on Iran broadcast on Radio 4 this week.
The programme, Decision Time broadcast on 3rd January, was looking at the political current situation in Iran and took as its starting point that Iran was developing nuclear weapons. The question of what should be done to stop Iran was put to an invited panel of experts, none of whom challenged the unproven allegation that Iran has a nuclear weaponisation programme. The panel, comprising Sir Malcolm Rifkin, Sir Jeremy, Greenstock, Sir Steven Wall, Reuel Marc Gerecth (ex CIA adviser) and George Pascoe-Watson (political editor of the Sun) were all in favour of punitive action against Iran, ranging from sanctions to military intervention.
Campaign Iran, an international campaign group opposed to sanctions and military intervention in Iran, requested a right of reply to correct the one-sided nature of the programme, but this was refused and the matter passed to the BBC complaints department and Ofcom. Peter Mulligan, producer of Decision Time, said that the decision not to include anyone with an opposing point of view was "not an oversight" but declined to say more pending the findings of the BBC and Ofcom investigations.
Professor Abbas Edalat of Campaign Iran, said today:
"An impression is being created that by enriching uranium Iran is defying the reasonable demands made by the rest of the world. In fact Iran is exercising its legal and inalienable right to pursue civilian nuclear technology. There is no evidence whatsoever that Iran has any nuclear weapons programme. The recent Resolution, forced through the by UN Security Council, is helping to create a false impression that Iran is in breach of its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. This false impression is being reinforced by the mainstream media and by failing to invite panelist from both sides of the argument Nick Robinsons' Decision Time was in clear breach Section 7 of Ofcom's Broadcasting Code requiring impartiality.
During the build-up to the invasion of Iraq, the media cravenly failed to adequately challenge the 'conventional wisdom' that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. We must be vigilant against similar inaccuracies being used to prepare the path for intervention against Iran, and we call on Ofcom and the BBC to safeguard the integrity and accuracy of our press and to ensure balanced reporting on Iran in the future.
For more information visit www.campaigniran.org
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