UK freezes Press TV Ltd bank account
Press TV Ltd is the British company that produces programmes for the global 24 hour news channel, Press TV.
And ever since it started operating nearly four years ago, right-wing and pro-Israeli groups have hated its output, and especially its coverage of the Middle East and the West.
But now fears are emerging that the British government may be trying to prevent the production house operating from the UK.
Press TV limited has experienced constant pressure from banks since its inception. But according to the company’s management, the most challenging incident so far has been the attitude of the prominent high street bank Natwest.
Nat West is owned by the Royal Bank of Scotland, which is itself 84% owned by the state.
Press TV Ltd says that the freezing of such a large amount of money has had a devastating impact on its operations, with many of its clients being owed money.
When we put these questions to Nat West they declined our request for an interview but they did send us the following statement.
Read out Natwest statement: “All customer relationships are subject to ongoing reviews, which take a range of factors into account and which may result in us deciding to stop providing banking facilities to a customer.”
However, we weren’t satisfied with this vague answer to specific questions so we decided to dig deeper.
We’re here at Natwest Bank’s headquarters in the City of London. We’ve sent many e-mails and made many phone calls asking why Press TV Ltd’s account has been closed and frozen but without getting a specific response. So, as a last resort, we’ve come here in the hope of getting some answers.
We waited and waited and the security staff weren’t happy about us filming.
Eventually it became clear that no one would talk to me so I left.
We were told that somebody would come out to see us but then they didn’t. So we were given the numbers of the press office which we’ve already tried. So again we’ve come up against a brick wall unfortunately.
Later, we also received an e-mail from the Treasury denying that they had exerted any pressure on Natwest.
They said there were no financial sanctions on Press TV and that Natwest had taken a commercial decision.
Nevertheless, prominent journalists remain convinced that the government’s and Natwest are behind an egregious attack on freedom of speech.