Sunday, 22 January 2012
No one should mourn the loss of Press TV, especially not the left
The propaganda outlet of an ultra-reactionary theocracy that executes homosexuals, represses woman and locks up democrats has had its broadcasting licence revoked by Ofcom.
It’s television channel was removed from Sky on 20 January.
The station had a well-known partiality for crackpot conspiracy theories, open anti-Semitism and the whitewashing of the appalling human rights record of its state backer.
Contrary to the cries of “censorship” coming from those usually so quick to argue for a “no platform” policy for home-grown fascists, the disappearance from the air of Press TV is not a free speech concern in any sense. As Maryam Namazie has pointed out, the station is not press in any way, shape or form, but is rather an arm of the Iranian intelligence service. (If that isn’t clear enough, the Ofcom investigation into the channel found that editorial decisions governing it were taken in Tehran.)
There are some, out of sheer naivety perhaps, who foolishly believe Press TV to be in some sense radical due to the fact that it hosts a number of high profile “left-wing” commentators. Others have again taken the by now predictable stance that anything and anyone that opposes the United States must be, in some small part at least, progressive.
If anything, the reaction of the latter illustrates how easily communism can become support for outright fascism when one’s primary motivation is hatred of the west, rather than solidarity with the oppressed. Since moving to London I have seen this type of “socialism” quite often, usually in drafty halls where a prolix speaker harangues an audience with a geographic make-up not dissimilar to a Leonid Brezhnev politburo.
Not only is it almost entirely an abstraction, it is an unreal movement with unreal demands that sits atop a platform looking down with contempt on genuine people’s struggles throughout the world. Its main thrust, and the main ideological thrust of those lionising Press TV, is an “anti-imperialism” espoused from the comfort of a warm bed with a full stomach in a liberal democracy.
The question as to which side one is on in Iran should be a straightforward one for any socialist – it should be, without question, with the workers, the gays, the women, the democrats: with any person oppressed under the jackboot of this thuggish regime.
It can be said by no serious person today that they are unaware of the Iranian regime's human rights abuses and its brutal persecution of homosexuals. This is a regime that likes to boast of causing as much suffering as possible to those found guilty of “sodomy”.
I certainly won’t be shedding any tears at the disappearance of Press TV, the mouthpiece of this vile dictatorship, and nor should you.