Sunday, June 13, 2010

BBC sabotaging Press TV broadcasts

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The British Broadcasting Corporation is showering Afghan cable networks with lucrative deals to cut broadcastings of Iran's English-language news channel, Press TV.

The Press TV bureau in Kabul was informed on Wednesday that "a number of BBC employees have recently contacted the cable networks' union in Herat to persuade them into breaking contract with Press TV and blocking all satellite transmission of its programs."

"The BBC reportedly offered to triple the union's pay once it agrees to strip Press TV of its broadcasting rights in Herat," the bureau added.

The move has drawn sharp criticism from media figures in Iran, who believe it is in line with US efforts to limit Press TV activities in Afghanistan, which is grappling with an all-out humanitarian crisis since the US-led invasion in 2001.

Last year, US military forces confiscated technical equipment of Press TV's Afghanistan bureau, only days before Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made a visit to the country.

Local reports revealed that Press TV has started to emerge as a popular news source among the people and even journalists in Afghanistan.

According to the reports, Afghan officials and ordinary citizens have welcomed Press TV as an alternative, more credible news source, ever since it became available on cable in Kabul and various provinces.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai, meanwhile, recently told a private gathering that he tunes into Press TV's news reports as he finds them to be more reliable and enlightening than other English language news sources.

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