street of shame

Corbyn cornered
Press freedom, Issue 1495

jeremy-corbyn.jpg
CHARITY APPEAL: Jeremy Corbyn, who has been asked to donate his fees for appearing on Press TV to charity
“IN THE wake of the murder of Lyra McKee, the NUJ will pay tribute to her life and work at an event in London to mark World Press Freedom Day,” the journalists’ union announces.

The event on 3 May will also “assess the challenges facing journalists and press freedom throughout the world, paying tributes to journalists who are currently in prison”. Speakers confirmed as the Eye went to press included Jeremy Corbyn, who is an NUJ member but has an interesting way of paying tribute to journalists in prison.

Between 2009 and 2012, he earned up to £20,000 as a presenter and panellist for the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Press TV – with his first payment appearing in the register of MPs’ interests in September 2009, several months after the regime had crushed the “Green Revolution” and cracked down on journalists who reported it.

Licence revoked
Maziar Bahari, who covered the protests for Newsweek and Channel 4, was arrested in June 2009 and taken to the notorious Evin Prison – where he was beaten, threatened with execution and forced to give a false “confession” that reporters working for foreign outlets were spies. This was broadcast in July by Press TV, in clear violation of his rights. Few with an interest in human rights could have missed the outcry. Two months later, Corbyn recorded his first payment from Press TV.

Bahari was released in October 2009. After returning to Britain he launched an Ofcom complaint against Press TV’s UK branch, pointing out that he had given the “interview” under duress. Ofcom agreed, and fined the network £100,000 in December 2011. A month later, having failed to pay the fine, Press TV had its UK broadcast licence revoked. Through all this Corbyn continued declaring payments from Press TV, up until June 2012.

Bahari is magnanimous. “I don’t resent Jeremy Corbyn for working with Press TV,” he tweeted in September. “I don’t think he was aware of the extent of their demagoguery. But now that he knows more about the channel, he should publicly apologise and donate the money that he received from Press TV to a charity.” Response or apology came there none. The perfect speaker to pay tribute to imprisoned journalists!

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Next issue on sale: 28th May 2019
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More top stories in the latest issue:

TEL TALES…
The Telegraph likens the PM’s Huawei deal to ‘giving Beijing a loaded gun’. But that doesn’t stop it earning £1m a year acting as a mouthpiece for China.

REBEKAH’S REBUTTAL
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ELF ’N’ ’ACKERY
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EATON MESS
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