France refuses to give Press TV team visas; no explanation offered
The French Embassy in Tehran has refused to issue visas for a Press TV team that wanted to participate in the annual MIPTV and MIPDOC film festivals in Cannes, France, Press TV reports.
The Press TV team completed the application procedure on February 15 and was told by the visa section of French Embassy in Tehran that the initial response would come on March 7, 2012.
The embassy, however, gave no clear answer to the application until April 9 when a French Embassy employee contacted Press TV to announce that visa requests for the team had been rejected. No clear explanation was given for the rejection.
Press TV officials also wrote a letter to French Ambassador to Tehran Bruno Foucher asking him to provide them with a proper explanation. The French embassy, however, gave no answer to the letter.
MIPDOC and MIPTV festivals are purely cultural events which were held in the southern French port city of Cannes from March 30 to April 4, 2012.
Press TV has been regularly participating in both festivals since 2008.
In addition to Press TV crews, eyewitnesses said, it has become a habit for the French embassy to refrain from issuing visas to Iranian university professors and even physicians who want to participate in scientific events in France.
Experts believe that the measure is a clear sign that the incumbent French government is not willing to continue cultural and media cooperation with Iran.
This is not the first time that a major member of the European Union has taken hostile positions on Press TV and its staff.
In late January, the British Office of Communications (Ofcom) took a questionable measure and without offering a valid response to the Press TV CEO’s letters, revoked the channel’s broadcasting license and finally removed it from the Sky platform. Before revoking Press TV license, Ofcom had hit Press TV with a fine of 100 thousand pounds.
The British media regulator stepped up pressure on Press TV after the news channel covered British police crackdowns on anti-austerity protesters in London and other British cities.
Also, on April 3, under pressure from the German government, Munich media regulatory office (BLM) made an illegal decision to remove Press TV from the SES Astra satellite platform.
Vice President of the SES Platforms Services Stephane Goebel wrote in an e-mail to the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting officials that the BLM had asked Press TV be immediately removed from the platform claiming that the channel did not have a license for broadcast in Europe.
Experts believe that such moves are clearly part of a scheme orchestrated by the West to silence the voice of the Iranian English-language channel.
- US, Israeli cyber attack on Press TV fails (disclose.tv)
- UK threatens to confiscate Press TV property in London (1oneday.wordpress.com)